A man treated a wild grey seal to a thorough scratching while diving in the waters off the English Farne Islands on October 8.
In this footage shot by Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, Dr Ben Burville, the seal relaxes as he pets it, occasionally rolling over to expose its underside.
Burville, who has studied the underwater behaviour of seals for more than 20 years, told Storyful he had learned over his career “how to dive in a way that the seals are at ease” with him and noted that the seal approached him.
“Seals have powerful bites, sharp teeth and a range of bacteria in their mouths,” he said.
“People should not approach seals. It is imperative that seals are never disturbed.” Credit: Ben Burville via Storyful