Student returns to Wuhan to find pet tortoise has wasted away to its skeleton

A tragic video shows a Chinese student arrives back at his dormitory in Wuhan for the first time in eight months to find his pet turtle dead and turned into skeletal remains.

University student Lin Buxiu, 22, left his dorm to visit his home city of Taiyuan in the northern Shanxi Province for the winter holiday on January 12.

The student shared his horrific discovery on Douyin – the Chinese version of TikTok – where he posts under the username @Tricking1998.

His video shows the dead animal decayed to nothing more than a dry skeleton.

Mr Lin said he left the animal with “weeks” of food and water and assumed he’d be back in a month.



But 11 days later, Wuhan was put under full lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak and he was only able to return after nearly eight months.

At this point, his alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) had starved to death or died of thirst and turned to bone.

Mr Lin said: “I only planned to be gone for about a month so I left him enough food and water to last a few weeks.

“Who knew the pandemic would mean I couldn’t return for eight months!



The tortoise starved after being left alone for eight months

“When I finally returned to my dorm room on campus I found my turtle dead and bone dry on the balcony on August 31.”

Mr Lin, who is in his third year of studying at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, revealed he had purchased the turtle off e-commerce website Taobao, owned by Alibaba, for 150 CNY (£16).

The turtle species, classified as “threatened” by the IUCN, can live for up to 70 years in captivity, but the student admitted he only had the animal for five months when it perished.

He has decided to keep the bones as an ornament.

“I had only had it for about five months before I left it during the winter break,” Mr Lin said.

“I’m keeping its bones on my bookshelf, but I’ll buy a glass container to display it.”

Fortunately, he is no hurry to repeat the mistake.

“I don’t think I’m going to get another pet turtle while I’m still at university,” he said.

Wuhan, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated, was put on full lockdown by the Chinese government on January 23.

The strict travel restrictions would not be lifted for 76 days until April 8, but even then many university students were asked to continue to stay at home for the sake of public health.

Mr Lin said he was doing online lessons and hadn’t fallen behind with his course work during the long break from university.

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