This is the incredible haul of coins retrieved from a turtle’s BELLY after she spent years swallowing money thrown into a pool by tourists for good luck.
The 25-year-old turtle nicknamed ‘Bank’ was found struggling to breath and with a cracked shell – causing vets to believe she had a tumour.
But x-rays revealed an enormous lump of metal measuring 20 x 23 x 20cm inside her stomach.
They have now performed life-saving seven-hour surgery and pulled out a staggering 915 coins from around the world with an estimated value of around $1,000USD.
Associate Professor Nantarika Chansue at Chulalongkorn University, the vet who has been leading the rescue, said at a press conference today: ”The coins came from many countries, mainly from Asia
”At first I thought the turtle might have been paralysed. But an X-ray and a CT scan revealed a massive chunk of objects
”After we removed the coins one by one, it became obvious the turtle was breathing much better.’’
Local media reported that the value of the coins was approximately $1,000 – with a number of coins being of high value to increase the good luck.
Nantarika added: ”Bank had built up quite a collection. It’s more savings than a lot of people have.”
Bank was found last month in a filthy man-made pool at an abandoned park in Chonburi province, Thailand.
She was close to death and unable to dive down in the water but rescuers from Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Center saved her.
CT scans revealed an enormous lump of metal lodged inside the turtle’s stomach that had caused severe swelling, infections and a cracked shell.
Medics initially stabilised her condition before she was well enough for an operation at Chulalongkorn University.
Doctors anaesthetised her then opened up her stomach. Her colon was in relatively good condition but they found large foreign objects in the stomach.
They they spent four hours dissecting the bladder to reach the first coin and carefully removed them one-by-one.
Bank’s tummy was then sewn back up and she will spend several weeks recovering before being released back into the ocean.
Prof Nantarika urged people not to throw coins into pools where marine creatures live.
She added: ‘’Throwing coins into pools where there are animals is very, very dangerous.
‘’Bank was lucky because she was found in time. But people must learn not to throw in the coins.’’