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.
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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.
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Omsin – which appropriately translates into piggy bank in Thai – had been finding it hard to swim under the weight.The coins had been thrown into her pool at a conservation centre in Bangkok for good luck.It’s believed the seven-hour-long operation was the world’s first such surgery.
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.