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Turtle Has 915 Coins Removed From Belly After Swallowing 'Lucky' Money

Image: Turtle Has 915 Coins Removed From Belly After Swallowing 'Lucky' Money

A female green green turtle nicknamed "Bank" swims in a pool at Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Chonburi Province, Thailand. Veterinarians operated Monday, March 6, 2017, on Bank to remove nearly 1,000 coins from the endangered animal. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 07:32 PM

Surgeons in Thailand have removed 915 coins from the belly of a sea turtle after she swallowed the money tossed into her pool for good luck over many years.

Veterinarians in Bangkok operated Monday on the 25-year-old female green sea turtle nicknamed "Bank," The Associated Press reported.

Many Thais believe throwing coins on turtles will bring longevity, but it's not a great diet for the turtles.

Typically, a green sea turtle has a lifespan of around 80 years, said Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, dean of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary faculty. It is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The loose change eventually formed a heavy ball in Bank's stomach weighing 5 kilograms (11 pounds). The weight cracked the turtle's ventral shell, causing a life-threatening infection.

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 the 10-cm (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.

"The result is satisfactory. Now it's up to Bank how much she can recover," said Pasakorn Briksawan, one of the surgical team. While recovering in Chulalongkorn University's animal hospital, the turtle will be on a liquid diet for the next two weeks.

Bank was brought in to veterinarians by the navy, which found her ailing in her seaside hometown.

It was only after a detailed 3-D scan that veterinarians pinpointed the weighty and unexpected problem. As well as the coins they also found 2 fish hooks, which were also removed today.

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.

Thai media began publicizing the turtle's tale last month after she was found, and in response, some 15,000 baht ($428) in donations was raised from the public to pay for her surgery.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
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Surgeons in Thailand have removed 915 coins from the belly of a sea turtle after she swallowed the money tossed into her pool for good luck over many years.
turtle, 915, coins, removed
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2017-32-07
Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 07:32 PM
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