Diver Gives 'Chin Scratches' to Friendly 8-Foot Wolf Eel in Stunning Video

A heartwarming encounter between a diver and his friend of 18-years—who just so happens to be an eight-foot wolf eel—has gone viral online.

John Roney is an underwater cinematographer and film editor based out on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, who regularly shares videos of his exploits interacting with the local sea life.

An avid ocean conservationist with a keen understanding of his natural surroundings, Roney was recently on hand to capture an affectionate embrace between a wolf eel known locally as "Grandpa" and a diver he has known for 18 years.

In footage first posted to Instagram, the eight-foot fish can be seen wrapping themselves around the man, known only as "Theo," who proceeds to affectionately touch the sea animal under the chin.

It can be watched here.

A species of massive fish found off the coast of Vancouver Island and throughout the Pacific Northwest, Roney told Newsweek "Grandpa" is particularly well-known within the local diving community having lived in the same den for close to 25 years.

He said: "While I always highly discourage people from touching or interacting with marine life, Grandpa is an interesting case because he's become very habituated to divers visiting him over the past 25 years."

Roney said "Grandpa" loves to eat sea urchins and get chin scratches from divers he's "comfortable" with.

"I dove down to 80 feet with a scuba diver who's been visiting Grandpa for 18 years, and as soon as we got down to his den, the massive fish quickly came out to greet my dive buddy and wrap around him," he said.

"It was incredible to see the wolf eel cuddle up and look for chin scratches. I'm an underwater cinematographer and was lucky enough to have a camera with me to capture the moment."

The magical footage has proven popular on social media after being shared to Reddit. At the time of writing, the clip had garnered over 25,000 upvotes and a glut of positive comments.

Chunksofstuff said: "What an experience. to know you have the trust of such a unique animal" with DisabledMuse writing: "Wolf eels are like sweet sea puppies. I used to go scuba diving and they would swim right up to you and want pets."

HimTakeAnBigSteppe declared: "Even eels deserve scratches" while Majin_Melmo wrote: "He's so ugly he's cute."

IKNOOOOOOOOOW commented: "Beautiful, thanks for sharing" with Anubisrapture adding: "This is definitely sweet and wholesome. I think the Eel has a cute little face."

Despite their name, wolf eels are not technically eels but rather fish and a species of wolffish.

Roney just hopes that the video shows that while they "appear terrifying" wolf eels can often be "incredible, curious and even friendly fish."

A wolf eel being scratched.
'Grandpa' the wolf eel enjoying a scratch - the wolf eel was captured on camera enjoying an affectionate moment. John Roney/RoneyDives