Too late to enter the synchronised swimming? Diver seals friendship with playful pup who can’t help showing off for the camera


Ice to meet you: A playful grey seal comes up close to greet photographer Dr Alex Tattersall in the waters off the Farne Islands in Northumberland

Despite baring razor-sharp teeth and being the UK's largest carnovores , the creatures, which number around 4,000 in around the shores of Farne, are renowned for being friendly to humans.
During Dr Tattersall’s expedition, another diver, Peter Bardsley, had his entire leg hugged by a playful pup.
Although, the animals are also somewhat prone to chewing rubber flippers.
Briton Dr Tattersall said: ‘They are very playful and love nibbling your fins.

The seal deal: The young pup shows off his graceful aqua acrobatics skills in the island waters that are the home to 4,000 other grey seals

‘I’ve never heard of any incidents with them, but sometimes the big bulls will bark at you if they are not happy which produces an extraordinarily powerful noise underwater.
‘Most of the playful ones are the pups. They love yellow fins or gloves.
‘It is without doubt the best underwater interaction with any wild animal that I’ve ever had.’

Colourful character: Swimming along the kelp-strewn seabed, this seal is quite a camera star

There are thought to be between 117,000 to 170,000 grey seals living on Britain’s shores and they live for between 20 and 30 years.
Their numbers have doubled in the last 50 years and marine biologists believe they are still increasing.

Coming up for air: A grey seal rises to the surface as he is surrounded by cliffs of the Farne Islands

The male seals can grow up to 11 feet long with the females a lot smaller at just over six feet.
They can dive up to 230 feet looking for their staple diet of small fish, octopus and lobsters but love playing with divers in the chilly murky waters.
Dive instructor Mr Bardsley, 49, who lives near Penrith in Cumbria, travels to the Farne Islands every year to dive with the seals.

Coming up for air: A grey seal rises to the surface as he is surrounded by cliffs of the Farne Islands

Peter said: ‘I’ve been diving with seals around the UK coast from Scilly isles, West Wales to the Hebrides for years and have found that the Farne islands is exceptionally special.
‘It’s the biggest seal colony, so there’s more chance of seeing them in the water and the North Sea is clearer on this part of the coast.
‘You need to stay still and let the seals come to you. Often they play hide and seek and will sneak up on you from behind and nibble your fins.
‘The first thing you notice is your foot being tugged.’

Coy: A more shy-looking seal seal swims past the diver who is positioned a few feet away on the seabed

Close-up: This seal nuzzles the diver's glove as it happily shows off for the camera

Describing how he got his shots, he added: ‘I was busy photographing lobsters when I first noticed.
‘My fins were left dangling in mid-water while I tried to get the perfect shot of the lobsters under a ledge.
‘The seal pups took advantage of my situation and grabbed onto the fin. I looked around and took the shot whilst the pup hugged my leg.
‘Sometimes the seals mimic you but they wouldn’t play if it wasn’t fun for them, as we’re no threat at all and vice versa.

source: dailymail