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Turtle That Ate Nearly 1,000 Coins Recovering From Surgery In Thailand

The female green sea turtle swims in a pool at Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Chonburi Province, Thailand, prior to her surgery.

Tossing a coin into a pool is believed to be good luck. But it proved to be terrible luck for a green sea turtle who consumed nearly 1,000 coins thrown into her pool.

The female green sea turtle is now recovering from an hours-long surgery on Monday. Veterinarians removed some 11 pounds of metal that she couldn't digest, according to The Associated Press.

"It is hard to imagine how it swallowed such a large number of coins. I've never seen such a case before," as Pasakorn Brikshavana, of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary science department told the Bangkok Post.

The animal reportedly consumed coins for years that tourists would throw into her pool in the town of Sri Racha. Eventually, the animal had difficulty swimming because of the weight of the money, as Reuters reported.

And the large metal mass eventually caused the underside of her shell to crack, according to the BBC. The coins are visible on CT scans of the turtle, pictured here.

It appears that the turtle is known by different names. The AP and BBC say she is called Bank, while the Bangkok Post and Reuters say she is named Om Sin, which is Thai for "piggy bank."

After the operation, the veterinarians showed reporters the large pile of coins extracted from the animal.

The AP describes the complicated surgery:

"Five surgeons from Chulalongkorn University's veterinary faculty patiently removed the coins over four hours while 'Bank' was under general anesthesia. The stash was too big to take out through the 10-cm (4-inch) incision they had made, so it had to be removed a few coins at a time. Many of them had corroded or partially dissolved.

"'The result is satisfactory. Now it's up to Bank how much she can recover,' said Pasakorn Briksawan, one of the surgical team. While recovering in Chulalongkorn University's animal hospital, the turtle will be on a liquid diet for the next two weeks."

The turtle was filmed by the BBC after the operation with a cloth over her eyes, head resting on a bright pink pillow.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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