Dramatic video shows a gray whale asking a Mexican whale watching captain for help to get germs removed from its head.
The photos, which were posted on Facebook in March, were taken by a passenger on a whale-watching boat operating in Ojo de Liebre, a lake on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
It shows a gray whale approaching a small tourist boat as the operator, identified as Paco Jimenez Franco, begins to remove the whale’s lice from its head.
The whale lingers for a moment, circling long enough for Franco to give him a good clean as the onlookers laugh.
You can watch the videos here:
Franco, who has been working as a whale watcher for 20 years, told The Dodo newspaper that it took time for the whales to become comfortable before they began to break the lice.
Speaking about his first encounter with the whale, Franco said: “After I removed the first one, he approached again so I could continue to do so.”
“I have done it again and again, with the same whale and others. It makes me very happy,” Franco added.
Whale lice are parasites found on the skin, nose, and eyes of whales. It can be useful for whales because they eat algae on their bodies and eat the skin.
Mark Carwardine, a British biologist with extensive experience in the area, told The Guardian newspaper that the whales have a “love-hate relationship with whale lice.”
“They have a very dark skin, and thousands of these huge creatures are holding on, or off close, with the most searched languages, it must drive them nuts,” Carrine said. “It can hurt when lice touch your finger – they feel like pinpricks.”
Gray whales, which can grow up to 50 meters in length, were called “devil fish” for their ability to fight off fishermen in the 20th century.
They are often found in Baja California as part of their migration route to the North American coast.
Franco’s interview comes amid reports of orcas sailing off the coast of Spain and Portugal.
In another incident in the Strait of Gibraltar last month, a group of orcas tossed a boat around “like a rag doll” and removed both rudders, Insider’s Joshua Zitser reported.
This article was first published by Business Insider.
More from Business Insider: