Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Thai surgeons remove 915 coins swallowed by sea turtle

Veterinarians prepare to operate on Omsin, a 25-year-old female green sea turtle, to remove coins from her stomach at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of veterinary science in Bangkok, Thailand on March 6, 2017. Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University via Reuters
Veterinarians prepare to operate on Omsin, a 25-year-old female green sea turtle, to remove coins from her stomach at Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of veterinary science in Bangkok, Thailand on March 6, 2017. Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University via Reuters

BANGKOK // Veterinarians in Bangkok on Monday removed 915 coins from the stomach of a captive sea turtle.

The 25-year-old female green turtle named Omsin – Thai for piggy bank – had accumulated the hoard from years of visitors throwing coins into her tank at a conservation centre in Sriracha, Chonburi, east of the Thai capital.

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

The loose change eventually formed a 5-kilogram ball in Omsin’s stomach, affecting her ability to swim. Veterinarians decided to operate after the weight cracked the turtle’s ventral shell, causing a life-threatening infection.

turtleOmsin is seen next to tray of coins which were removed from its stomach. EPA

The turtle itself weighed 59kg.

The vets said they believed the seven-hour operation, performed under general anaesthesia, was the world’s first such surgery.

“We think it will take about a month to ensure she will fully recover,” said Nantarika Chansue, of Chulalongkorn University’s veterinary science faculty, adding that Omsin would need six more months of physical therapy.

There was no immediate estimate of the value of the coins, some of them foreign and many corroded.

turtle coinsThe coins after the surgery at Chulalongkorn University’s veterinary faculty in Bangkok. AP Photo

* Associated Press and Reuters

Updated: March 6, 2017 04:00 AM

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