These wonderful images show one of nature’s gentle giant’s in all its glory – relaxing underwater in a hilarious pose.

Captured by scuba diver and photographer Tanakit Suwanyangyaun in Coron, off the coast of the Philippines, the images show a close encounter between a group of divers and a manatee, otherwise known as a ‘sea cow’.

Much like cows on land, sea cows graze peacefully on plants and this one seemed eager to chill on its side after a heavy meal.

The light-hearted photo set, taken in May, shows the sea cow gracefully passing above, as well as beside the divers.

Tanakit said: “Underwater this amazing animal is normally really shy. But this is the special friendly one.

“It is really special to be with this amazing creature. You cannot find any other animal like this in the world.”

Apart from mothers with their young, or males following a receptive female, manatees are generally solitary animals. Manatees spend approximately 50% of the day sleeping submerged, surfacing for air regularly at intervals of less than 20 minutes. The remainder of the time is mostly spent grazing in shallow waters at depths of 1–2 metres (3.3–6.6 ft). The Florida subspecies has been known to live up to 60 years.

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