A giant green sea turtle that has been nicknamed “Bank” took her first swim last week after completing a complex surgery to remove an astonishing five kilograms of money from her stomach.
The 25-year-old turtle was rescued by the Thai navy who found her in a pool in Si Racha, Chonburi. The turtle was clearly in poor health when she was discovered and soon the reason became clear.
3D scans of her stomach showed that she had ingested a large number of coins that were thrown into the pool by people who believed that by doing so it would bring them good luck.
Over the course of many years, the coins became lodged in the turtle’s digestive tract causing a life-threatening infection.
Surgeons quickly operated on “Bank” and removed five kilograms, or 915, coins of varying currencies. Despite the successful surgery, there are still more coins inside of the turtle which the surgeons hope she will pass naturally.
Last Friday, “Bank” swam for the first time since the surgery and seemed in good health. Dr. Nantarika Chansue, who led the operation at Chulalongkorn University’s Veterinary Faculty, said:
“It’s fantastic! She is responding very well. Now she is very happy and looks like a normal turtle.”
There will be a period of rehabilitation for “Bank” that involves manipulating her limbs to ensure her muscles do not become stiff and monitoring the surgical scar. Dr. Chansue expressed some concern about the aftereffects of having so many coins inside of her, saying:
“The wound healing seems to be OK and there is no secondary infection because we are using sterile seawater… but we have checked her blood and her nickel concentration is very high so we have to work on that.”