Firefighters in south Devon rescued a young bullock from a swimming pool after he had escaped from a local field, found his way into a nearby garden and fallen in.

Buckfastleigh Fire Station, which worked to rescue the animal in a joint operation with other fire stations, in a Facebook post said:

"Last night (March 31) one of our team joined colleagues from Torquay Fire Station, Paignton Fire Station and a specialist rescue team from Exmouth Fire Station to help remove a young bullock who had decided to leave his field in favour for a late night swim in a nearby swimming pool."

The Paignton crew were the first to arrive and its officer in charge initially decided to pump some of the water out so that the 600kg animal could stand and support itself.

When they started pumping out the water the cow seemed to swim along the pool and investigate the pump, Paignton Fire Station said.

"Once the specialist animal team turned up, we all got together to discuss the best way to remove him from the pool, providing the least stressful way for the cow and the safest option for our crews," the station continued.

"Large animal rescues can be very dangerous due to the unpredictable behaviour of animals, so crew safety is paramount."

The teams agreed to feed webbing strops under the cow after getting him in the corner of the pool, then to bring in a telehandler and lift him to where a local farmer and a cattle trailer were waiting. The operation went very well, Paignton Fire Station said.

The fire station added that while the animal had been in the pool for three to four hours, and was very cold with numb legs, "he did spend quite some time with his nose just below the surface blowing bubbles, which he seemed to enjoy".

Commenters on Facebook commended the firefighters for a job well done, however one user had some suspicions regarding the truth behind the posts' date of April 1.

"An usual day for an unusual event....April 1," the commenter said, referring to April Fool's Day.

However, the photos are nothing to be argued with.