Never bet on a dead turtle.
That’s certain to be what a group of Pattaya locals will be telling themselves later today after trying to divine “lucky” numbers from a green sea turtle grounded on Jomtien Beach Saturday night.
Sadly, carcasses of endangered green and hawksbill turtles are far too common on Pattaya beaches. But what set apart last night’s episode was the flock of superstitious Thais sifting sand and counting scales, convincing themselves they could decode shell patterns into millions of baht in Sunday’s government lottery draw.
Police shooed away the lookie-loos after calling experts from the Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Sattahip to the scene on Jomtien Beach at Soi 17 around 8 p.m.
The hopeful gamblers were so excited at the “sign” from above they neglected to see the clear signs the 50-kilogram-plus, 15-year-old turtle was dead.
There were no indications it had been hit by a boat propeller, so the likely cause of death was ingestion of plastic, a common cause of death for sea turtles that can’t differentiate a floating plastic bag from a tasty jellyfish until it’s too late.
Losing lotto players also will discover there’s only bad luck in betting on a turtle killed by human-caused pollution.