This friendly dolphin just wanted a cuddle. This is the heartwarming moment a dolphin enjoys a belly-rub from an obliging snorkeler.

Rare footage shows the bottle-nose dolphin - called Dusty - rolling over in the water as a woman on a boat gently pats her.

It was filmed by nature photographer Elaine Farrell in Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands in western Ireland while she was waiting for a ferry.

Ms Farrell said the dolphin had been following the woman while she was snorkelling.

'I was the only person on the harbour when I noticed someone snorkeling in the water with the dolphin,' she said

'They swam alongside each other, the dolphin following the swimmer when she got out of the water, rolling over to have his belly rubbed. Dusty clearly enjoyed the human contact.'

Dr Simon Berrow, of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group advised swimmers not to get too close to the animals if they can avoid it.

'Go slow and let them come to you,' he told the Irish Examiner. 'Bottle nose dolphins are inquisitive animals so they probably will.'


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