BANGKOK - Thai veterinarians on Monday removed 915 coins from a 25-year-old sea turtle which had been swallowing items thrown into her pool for good luck, eventually limiting her ability to swim.
Doctors found the turtle named Omsin - piggy bank in Thai - was irregularly floating in the water from her head to upper torso but her left rear end was sinking under water. After they did a CT scan, a large metal-like foreign object was found in her stomach.
"This is a female turtle that weighs about 59 kilograms and the coins all together weighs 5 kilograms, which accounts to about 10 percent of her weight," said Nantarika Chansue of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary science faculty.
The green sea turtle, living at a conservation centre in Sriracha, Chonburi, east of the Thai capital of Bangkok, had been finding it hard to swim normally because of the weight.
The vets said they believed the seven-hour-long operation was the world's first such surgery.
"We think it will take about a month to ensure she will fully recover," said Nantarika, adding that the turtle would need six more months of physical therapy.
There was no immediate estimate of the value of the coins, some of them foreign and many corroded.