02/08/2012 15:39 BST

Doctor Saves Life Of 'Drowned' Tortoise By Giving Him Mouth-To-Mouth (PICTURES)

A doctor saved his tortoise's life after giving the animal mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after it fell into a bowl of water.

Dr Ben Waterfall, 34, was watering his garden when he found his eight-year-old pet Atlas floating upside down in a bowl of water with his feet in the air.

The tortoise had stopped breathing and was "completely floppy", so the GP clamped his lips around Atlas' mouth, nose and nostrils and started breathing.

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Lucky to be alive: Dr Ben Waterfall and a now recovered Atlas

He kept going for six minutes until the pet spluttered back to life.

Dr Waterfall, of Swimbridge, north Devon, said: "I was watering the garden at about 7pm when I was walking past his run and saw his back feet sticking up out of the water.

"I pulled him out but he was not breathing and was completely floppy. He was essentially dead.

"I first started doing it and I had my mouth over his whole head, mouth, nose and nostrils. Then I changed it to sort of breathing into his nostrils.

"I did six minutes of mouth to mouth before he slowly started breathing and blinking.

"I was quite emotional at the time."

Atlas is believed to have 'drowned' in a ten-inch long concrete container filled with water in his outdoor run.

After the drama Dr Waterfall, who practices at Brannam Medical Centre, took Atlas to the vets where he was prescribed antibiotics.

He said: "He might have got some water on the lungs. But he was just prescribed some antibiotics and is otherwise fine.

"The guys at work think it is hilarious. There is a mixture of laughter and them kind of saying well done for giving it a go."

Dr Waterfall, who also has a pet cat with his wife Subhani and two-year-old son Harry, said it would have been devastating to lost Atlas.

He said: "My wife was putting Harry to bed when it was happening. We did tell him in the morning that Atlas had gone swimming and that we had saved him.

"When my wife came downstairs she said that Atlas is supposed to outlive us. He is not supposed to die young at eight-years-old."

Tortoise Saved