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WARNING: This article contains images and video which some readers may find distressing
Lin Buxiu, 22, had left his dorm in the Chinese province of Hubei when the Covid-19 lockdown was put in place.
He said he thought he would only be away for a month, so left the animal enough food for a few weeks.
In the end, however, he was only able to return eight months later - which proved too late for the alligator snapping turtle.
Buxiu had initially planned to go home to Taiyuan for a winter holiday on 12 January, but shortly after he left, the city ended up in full lockdown. His pet turtle obviously didn't make it.
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!
"When I finally returned to my dorm room on campus I found my turtle dead and bone dry on the balcony on 31 August."
On his return, he found the dead turtle had turned into bone and dust. He shared his shocking discovery on Douyin - the Chinese equivalent of TikTok - where he showed it had become a dry skeleton.
Mr Lin is a third year student at Wuhan University of Science and Technology.
He had got the adult alligator snapping turtle off e-commerce website Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon. It cost him 150 CNY (£17) in 2019.
He explained: "I had only had it for about five months before I left it during the winter break.
"I'm keeping its bones on my bookshelf, but I'll buy a glass container to display it.
"I don't think I'm going to get another pet turtle while I'm still at university."
Covid-19 is believed to have originated in Wuhan, in China. The city was the first in the world to be put into full lockdown on 23 January, before the outbreak had been labelled a pandemic.
Travel restrictions remained in place until 8 April, but students were still asked to remain in their hometowns to stop the virus from spreading further.
Mr Lin continued to take part in online lessons, meaning he could keep up with his course while staying safe and well in his home city - more than can be said for his poor turtle.
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