Florida law prevents anyone from approaching or handling manatees. We’ve seen several cases of people facing hefty fines for doing so.

But should the manatee approach you and cuddle up, that’s a different story.

Such was the case for a WPBF-TV engineer who, instead of heading to the mall on the holiday weekend, donned his snorkel gear and took to the Florida shoreline instead.

manatee

Image source: WPBF-TV

Outfitted with his GoPro camera, Jay Darden filmed a friendly manatee coming up for a hug. The encounter occurred in Citrus County, the only county in the state where you can touch manatees if they approach you, and Darden gave the sea cow a little tickle, which it seemed to enjoy.

manatee

Image source: WPBF-TV

Watch the adorable footage:

“That is the best video of the day,” a WPBF anchor said.