Adorable Video Shows Gray Seal Hugging Scuba Diver

An adorable video showing a gray seal hugging a scuba diver has recently caught the attention of social media. But seal lovers shouldn't attempt to hug one of the marine mammals anytime soon. Though gray seals might look cute and cuddly, National Geographic said they have a reputation as being one of the North Sea's "most murderous killers."

The encounter took place in the Farne Islands, just off of England's Northumberland coast. Ben Burville, scuba diver and medical doctor, first published the video to his Twitter account on August 9.

"Even #wild grey #seals, at home in the cold #NorthSea, sometimes want a #hug," he tweeted along with the video that showed the seal embracing Burville. The video has received more than 10,000 views.

According to Storyful, Burville has spent nearly 20 years diving among seals. As such, he has learned how to move around them in a way that is "non-threatening."

"Are these the same seals that know you Ben, or are all seals just affectionate?" asked one Twitter commenter named Judith.

"[I] Very rarely see the same seal," responded Burville. "They have taught me how to dive with them in a way that they find non-threatening."

Newsweek reached out to Burville for comment but did not immediately hear back.

In 2015, National Geographic reported that gray seals were becoming the "most murderous killer of the southern North Sea." Evidence gathered by the publication at the time showed that the marine mammals—which had never been spotted feasting on any creature larger than a duck—had begun to eat porpoises and other seals.

"Just because they're cute doesn't make them less of a predator," biologist Abbo van Neer told the publication. "Yes, it's bloody. Yes, it's gruesome. That is just the way nature is."

However, this doesn't appear to be common among all gray seals across all regions. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries stated gray seals typically eat various fish and crustaceans.

But gray seals can still be a danger to divers.

In an interview with the BBC in 2016, seal expert Gill Bell warned against approaching seals.

"You should never swim over to where they are because that's when you get issues," she said. "The main concern is that they could misinterpret an action as a supposed threat."

She also likened them to toddlers, and explained that they'll "put anything in their mouth."

Fortunately for Burville, his video showed that U.K.'s gray seals view him as anything but a threat.

"Beautiful. Wonderful creatures, the puppies of the sea," commented Rich B in response to Burville's video.

"I have watched this wonderful encounter so many times," shared Sally Greaves. "Extraordinary."

gray seal pup
A video of a gray seal hugging a scuba diver has caught the attention of Twitter users. Stock image of a gray seal pup in the grass at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust's Donna Nook nature reserve in England. Dan Kitwood / Staff/Getty