Found: A Turtle With 915 Coins in Its Belly

Posted March 07, 2017

Veterinarians laboured for seven hours to remove 915 coins weighing five kilogrammes from a sea turtle suffering chronic stomach ache. "If we didn't operate on her then she wouldn't have been able to eat or defecate, and would have soon died".

A team of Thai veterinary surgeons yesterday successfully removed almost a thousand coins from a turtle's stomach, the world's first such surgery.

Some also believe they are "making merit" for the animals, which is a Buddhist tradition.

Chansue said in a Facebook post the turtle is on the mend and already breathing easier after losing almost 10 percent of her body weight in the surgical procedure.

In Thailand, there is a superstition that throwing loose change onto a turtle can bring a person longevity and good fortune.

It was one of the 26 turtles relocated to the centre from a pond in Sri Racha district in Chon Buri after the town municipality planned to renovate the place.

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Through her rehabilitation center, Chansue's team had rescued thousands of the animals.

Green sea turtles typically live around 80 years, according to Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, dean of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary facility.

People raised money for a CT scan, which revealed the problem: an egg-shaped clump, seven inches on the side, glowing silver in the scan. Two fish hooks were also removed.

More than half a dozen surgeons and assistants hoisted the 130-pound turtle onto a table, put her under and strapped her down. By the time it was over, veterinarians had removed approximately 11 pounds of coins, many of which were corroded, Reuters reported.

There were 915 in total, in several currencies.

If she gets through months of recovery and physical therapy, that is.