Turtle has surgery after eating 1,000 coins tossed by tourists

1,000 coins removed from turtle

BANGKOK, Thailand -- A Thai sea turtle found itself in the soup on Monday, when its expensive taste landed it on a surgeon's table.

Veterinarians in Bangkok operated on the female green turtle -- nicknamed "Bank" -- after she had snaffled almost 1,000 coins, thrown into her pool over many years by luck-seeking tourists.

The loose change eventually formed a heavy ball in Bank's stomach, weighing 11 pounds.

The weight cracked her ventral (underside) shell, causing a life-threatening infection.

A team of five surgeons from Chulalongkorn University's veterinary faculty removed the coins while Bank was under general anesthetic.

There were 915 in total, in several currencies.

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The stash was too big to take out through the 3.9-inch incision they had made, so the coins had to be painstakingly taken out a few at a time.

Many of the coins had dissolved or corroded.

It took four hours to complete the tricky operation.

"The result is satisfactory. Now it's up to Bank how much she can recover," said Pasakorn Briksawan, a member of the surgical team.

Bank had been living in a private pond in the seaside town of Sri Racha for many years.

As is traditional, visitors had flipped in coins for luck. Unluckily for the turtle, she ate them.

The turtle was eventually rescued by the navy that realized she was ill, after noticing she was listing in the water, but were not sure what was wrong with her.

It was only after carrying out a detailed 3D scan that veterinarians pinpointed the weighty and unexpected problem.

As well as the coins, they also found two fish hooks, which were also removed.

The patient is now recovering in Chulalongkorn University's animal hospital.

Bank will be limited to a liquid diet for the next two weeks.

It's fair to assume Bank has probably had enough of solids for the time being.

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