AN ADORABLE video shows the moment two abandoned seal pups jump into the same bath together – and become best friends.
Erik and Stella were only a day old when they were found washed up on opposite ends of Shetland last month – both with their umbilical cords still attached.
The pups, both in a bad condition and motherless,were taken to the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary on the main island where they were placed in separate baths.
One of the pups, named Erik by his rescuers, immediately climbed out and got in with Stella.
A touching video of the scene was taken by Jan Bevington who runs the sanctuary with husband Pete.
The two can be seen swimming around each other in the cramped space, splashing and rubbing noses.
At one point, Stella even appears to place a fin around Erik, in what looks like a slippery hug.
Another video shows the two playing in a larger pool, and munching on small pieces of fish.
Jan says that the seals were “very poorly” when they arrived at the centre, but after a month of being tube-fed six times a day, they have regained their strength and are expected to make a full recovery.
“They were both very up and down,” she said. “You never know when they come in that young whether they will survive.
“They have both done fantastically. Stella is slightly bigger and I think Erik must have been the runt of the litter, but they are now inseparable.
“Erik was in a really bad way when he arrived. If Stella hadn’t been brought in straight after him I’m not sure he would have survived. He’s a real character now.
“We tube-fed them six times a day with milk and a bit of skimmed herring. It’s very hard work – you’re up between 6am and 12am every day.
“Now, they’re being fed four times a day and are starting to eat small pieces of fish.”
She added that the plan is to release the pair – who were named after their rescuers – back into the wild in a few month’s time.
“It’ll be about September when we release them,” she said. “As soon as they start to eat fish they grow bigger and start to get a bit wilder – like teenagers.
“It’s always sad to see them go but we also take great pleasure in what we do.”
The Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary cares for sick, abandoned and washed up seals and otters in the Shetland Isles.
They also help coordinate rescues when whales or dolphins become stranded on the islands’ coastline.