Feedback
News
photo

Sea Turtle With Stomachache Has Surgery to Remove 915 Coins

Image: Thai veterinarians remove 915 coins from a green sea turtle's stomach
Veterinary scientist Nantarika Chansue touches a sea turtle, nicknamed "Bank," on March 7, a day after a surgery to remove 915 coins from its stomach at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Tossing coins in a fountain for luck is a popular superstition, but a similar belief brought misery to a sea turtle in Thailand. Veterinarians operated Monday to remove 915 coins from the turtle's stomach.

Image: Thai veterinarians prepare to operate on Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, to remove coins from her stomach at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok
Thai veterinarians prepare to operate on "Bank." Chulalongkorn University via Reuters

Nicknamed "Bank," the green sea turtle's indigestible diet was a result of many tourists seeking good fortune tossing coins into her pool over many year at a conservation center in the eastern town of Sri Racha.

Many Thais believe that throwing coins on turtles will bring longevity.

Image: Thai veterinarians operate on Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, to remove coins from her stomach at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok
Veterinarians operate on "Bank." Chulalongkorn University via Reuters

The loose change eventually formed a 5-pound ball in her stomach, making it difficult to swim. The weight cracked the turtle's ventral shell, causing a life-threatening infection.

Image: Officers count coins that were removed from the stomach of Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, after a surgical operation at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok
The coins are counted: 915. Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

Five surgeons from Chulalongkorn University's veterinary faculty patiently removed the coins over four hours while "Bank" was under general anesthesia. The stash was too big to take out through 4-inch incision they had made, so it had to be removed a few coins at a time. Many of them had corroded or partially dissolved.

Image:
The turtle swims in a pool at the Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Thailand on March 3, several days before the surgery. Sakchai Lalit / AP

The surgery team leader said Monday that when she discovered the cause of the turtle's agony she was furious.

"I felt angry that humans, whether or not they meant to do it or if they did it without thinking, had caused harm to this turtle," said Nantarika Chansue, head of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary medical aquatic animal research center.