Found in a myriad of public locations are man-made fountains or pools that people often toss coins into for good fortune or just before making a wish. On the other hand, one of these pools, located in Sri Racha, Thailand, just happened to contain a female green sea turtle as well.
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After it was noticed that the animal was having complications while attempting to swim, further examinations revealed stress cracking in the underbelly of the creature’s shell.
All of these worrisome factors eventually led veterinarians to follow up with a CT scan to find out what was going on. It was soon found that the turtle had an 11-pound clump of metal in its stomach. The question of where it came from is easily answered by what was in the pool with it: coins.
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The green sea turtle was devouring the coins, one by one, over the course of the several years. Snacking on currency, the animal accumulated a grand total of 915 individual coins in its stomach, turning it into a proverbial living piggy bank.
Acting as a weight, the coins not only demobilized the green sea turtle from being able to swim as freely as it could have, but it also imposed health risks to the creature. Without all of the stomach area being cleared of the indigestible coins, the animal couldn’t eat much of anything else and the cracking shell also made it more vulnerable.
Consequently, there was only one thing that could be done, and that was to perform a surgical procedure to remove the coins.
The procedure, which took a few hours, involved removing all of the coins through a small incision that only allowed a number of coins to be taken out at a time. Nevertheless, all of them were removed successfully in due time.
Image Credit: Sakchai Lalit/AP
The turtle is expected to make a full recovery from the surgery, however it will be limited to a liquid-only diet while the surgical wounds heal, as solids would be too rough on the healing tissue.
As for what happens next – it would only make sense to relocate the turtle away from the coins so this doesn’t happen again. On the other hand, the next steps are still unclear at this point in time.
This isn't the first time that animals swalling man-made objects has caused health complications. There are also cases of birds swallowing plastic particles and whales swallowing trash bags. In any case, the effects on the animal's body is negative, and sometimes fatal, so experts may have gotten to this green sea turtle just in time to save it.