Coin-swallowing turtle in coma after second operation

A sea turtle nicknamed "Bank" has died of complications following surgery to remove almost 1,000 coins she swallowed during captivity, vets in Thailand have said.

Her fate had preoccupied Thais, who cherish turtles as a symbol of longevity, and the vets had urged people to pray for her recovery.

"Dr Nantarika Chansue of Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University, quoted by AP, said: "[Omsin] at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed".

But Omsin, or Piggy Bank, took a sudden turn for the worse over the weekend, developing blood poisoning from serious intestinal problems after the coins were removed.

They also said they would perform an autopsy on Omsin as a case study, which would benefit the treatment of turtles in the future. "She is my friend, teacher and patient".

An officer shows the coins the turtle ate over many years.

Many of them had corroded or partially dissolved. In February, veterinarians at the Bangkok university asked the navy to send Omsin to its animal hospital for a check-up, after the team found the turtle to be swimming sideways without using her left leg. Nantarika said she thought at first the turtle was semi-paralysed but an X-ray and a CT scan revealed a massive chunk of objects in her stomach. The turtle that tourists used to feed coins hoping for good luck, before vets saved her, pulling out 11 pounds of coins? Eventually, the money formed a weight that cracked Bank's shell.

Green sea turtles are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and have a lifespan of around 80 years.

Thai media began publicising the turtle's tale last month and members of the public donated about 15,000 baht (£350) towards her surgery.

  • Joanne Flowers