Thais shell-shocked as coin-swallowing turtle dies

A sea turtle nicknamed "Piggy Bank" has died after complications from surgery to remove nearly 1,000 coins she swallowed during captivity, Thai vets said Tuesday.

The reptile was thought to be recovering well from the pioneering seven-hour operation earlier this month to remove five kilograms (11 pounds) of coins lodged in her digestive tract -- good luck pennies tossed into the pool she was kept in.

But she took a sudden turn for the worse over the weekend, developing blood poisoning from serious intestinal problems after the coins were removed.

Omsin (Piggy Bank) was 25.

Her plight, recorded in precise detail in daily news updates, captured the hearts of many Thais and raised questions over the collision of traditional beliefs in good luck and animal welfare in the country.

"At 10:10am she went with peace," a tearful Nantarika Chansue, the vet in charge of Chulalongkorn hospital's aquatic research centre, told reporters on Tuesday.

"She is my friend, teacher and patient," she added.

The turtle lived for two decades in a small pond in a public park in Chonburi Province.

Visitors tossed coins into her pond seeking to "make merit" or good luck.

Vets hope the media coverage of the stricken creature will make Thais think twice about throwing coins into ponds where animals live.

© Provided by AFP A sea turtle nicknamed 'Piggy Bank' has died after complications from surgery to remove nearly 1,000 coins she swallowed


Thailand's coin-eating turtle dies of intestinal blockage

BANGKOK –  Tourists used to toss coins at a green sea turtle that lived in a pond in eastern Thailand, wishing for luck and longevity. But swallowing the shiny tidbits turned out to be a death sentence for the reptile.

After having nearly a thousand coins removed from its stomach in a four-hour operation two weeks ago, the turtle — nicknamed "Omsin," or "Piggy Bank," — died Tuesday.

Omsin, estimated to be 25 years old, had been rescued by Thai navy personnel who saw her visibly ailing in the seaside town of Sattahip. She was then examined by a veterinarian, who found the coins inside her stomach.

The story attracted international media attention, and a public clamor to ease Omsin's plight ensued. The weight of the money inside her had cracked her underside shell and threatened a fatal infection.

The cause of death was intestinal obstruction that blocked Omsin's protein intake, while nickel toxicity from the coins damaged her immune system, said Dr. Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, dean of the veterinary school at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

The turtle had appeared to be doing well after the operation, but a checkup Saturday revealed problems with her intestines. Doctors performed a second, 2 1/2 hour-operation, but Omsin never woke up and died Tuesday morning.

"She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed," said Dr. Nantarika Chansue, who led the team that removed 915 coins weighing 5 kilograms (11 pounds) from her stomach on March 6.


Thailand's coin-eating turtle dies two weeks after surgery

Tourists in eastern Thailand used to toss coins at a green sea turtle that lived in a pond in eastern Thailand, wishing for luck and longevity. But swallowing the shiny tidbits turned out to be a death sentence for the reptile.

After having nearly a thousand coins removed from its stomach in a four-hour operation two weeks ago, the turtle — nicknamed "Omsin," or "Piggy Bank," — died Tuesday.

Omsin, estimated to be 25 years old, had been rescued by Thai navy personnel who saw her visibly ailing in the seaside town of Sattahip. A veterinarian found the coins inside her stomach during an examination.

The story attracted international media attention, and a public clamor to ease Omsin's plight ensued. The weight of the money inside her had cracked her underside shell and threatened a fatal infection.

The cause of death was intestinal obstruction that blocked Omsin's protein intake, while nickel toxicity from the coins damaged her immune system, said Dr. Roongroje Thanawongnuwech, dean of the veterinary school at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

The turtle had appeared to be doing well after the operation, but a checkup Saturday revealed problems with her intestines. Doctors performed a second, 2½ hour-operation, but Omsin never woke up and died Tuesday morning.

"She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed," said Dr. Nantarika Chansue, who led the team that removed 915 coins weighing 11 pounds from her stomach on March 6.

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