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Omsin, The Coin-Chomping Turtle, Has Died Just Weeks After Surgery

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Tom Hale

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Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

A vet at the Chulalongkorn hospital's aquatic research center handles Omsin, dubbed 'Piggy Bank', on March 13. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Omsin the Thai turtle charmed the world earlier this month by undergoing an operation to have nearly 1,000 coins removed from her belly. Unfortunately, poor old Omsin died today, after a decade-long coin-munching habit wreaked havoc on her immune system and intestines. Is nothing sacred in this world?!

Omsin, whose name means “piggy bank” in Thai, was living in an indoor pool in Sriracha, Chonburi, where by a cruel twist of fate, it's good luck to throw coins into turtle ponds. Over years of living in the pool, she had swallowed at least 915 coins.

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Following an operation on March 6 to remove the coins from her digestive tract, the turtle initially appeared to be doing well. But over the following two weeks, they found that she had metal toxicity measuring 200 times higher than normal. They also discovered she had a heavily suppressed immune system, nutritional deficiency, and had developed intestinal volvulus, when the intestine twists around itself and causes a bowel obstruction. She finally succumbed to an acute intestinal infection. Bluntly put, the odds were never in her favor.

Although Omsin underwent another two-and-a-half hour operation on Tuesday morning local time, she never woke up.

We planned to return her to the Royal Thai Navy Turtle pond on Thursday,” Nantarika Chansue, one of the surgeons who operated on Omsin, said in a post on Facebook“We did our best but it was not good enough! Thank you for being my friend, Bank.”

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[H/T: Associated Press]


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