Sea Turtle Dies After Having Nearly 1,000 Coins Removed From Stomach

Published March 22, 2017
Updated February 8, 2018

Piggy Bank the Thai sea turtle has passed away from surgery-related complications.

Sea Turtle Dies From Eating Coins

Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn UniversityPiggy Bank the green sea turtle moments before her surgery.

Turns out turtles don’t make for great piggy banks.

This Tuesday, a Thai sea turtle called “Piggy Bank” passed away from complications that arose after veterinarians surgically removed nearly 11 pounds of metal coins from her stomach.

According to CNN, the 25-year-old sea turtle would often eat the coins tourists threw into her pond in Thailand.

She ate 915 of those coins. Over time, they coalesced into a giant ball that grew so large it cracked her shell and led to a life-threatening infection that required immediate surgery.

After successfully removing the coins, Piggy Bank’s veterinarians said her outlook seemed promising and that she was recovering well. The lead surgeon, Nantarika Chansue, even wrote on Facebook that Piggy Bank had “fully recovered from the surgery on March 6,” according to CNN.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse. This past Sunday morning, Piggy Bank’s breathing became depressed, and veterinarians rushed her into intensive care.

According to Reuters, this is when they discovered that the coin removal left a “gap” in her stomach that “strangled” her intestines and blocked the flow of blood, triggering an infection that eventually claimed her life.

“We are all very sad,” Chansue told CNN. “We tried our best, but due to her physical weakness and multiple complications including toxicity in her blood system, she couldn’t make it.”

The veterinarians announced that they would conduct an autopsy on Piggy Bank to learn how to save other sea turtles in the future. But according to Smithsonian, there is a simple solution — don’t throw metal coins into sea turtle homes.

All That's Interesting
All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out stories that illuminate the past, present, and future.