Saturday 17 March 2018

Coin-swallowing turtle banking on quick recovery after op

Bank is said to be recovering well (AP)
Bank is said to be recovering well (AP)

A Thai sea turtle which swallowed almost a thousand coins thrown into its pool by people who believed it would bring good luck is recovering well, four days after an operation to remove the hoard.

Veterinarians in Bangkok put "Bank", as the green sea turtle is nicknamed, back into the water to see how well she could move after 5kg (11lbs) of coins was taken from its stomach.

The turtle was gently lowered into a large plastic tank and quickly began swimming as best as it could in the restricted space.

The 25-year-old turtle was rescued from a pool by the Thai navy after it became ill from swallowing coins thrown to her by passers-by over the years.

Dr Nantarika Chansue, who led the team from Chulalongkorn University's Veterinary Faculty, said: "It's fantastic. She is responding very well.

"Now she is very happy and looks like normal turtle."

The reptile was rescued in the seaside town of Sri Racha by the Thai navy.

Scans showed that loose change became stuck in Bank's digestive tract, cracking its ventral shell and causing a life-threatening infection.

Surgeons needed four hours to remove the money, counting 915 coins of various currencies. Some are still inside, although it is hoped Bank can now pass them naturally.

The animal's rehabilitation has involved manipulating its limbs to make sure the muscles do not stiffen up after being out of water for a prolonged period, and checking that the surgical scar does not become infected.

There are lingering concerns, however. Dr Nantarika said: " The wound healing seems to be okay 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."

Press Association

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