By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung

A GROUP of friendly seals get up close and personal with the camera

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The playful creatures prove they are not camera shy as they get up close with Rainer's camera

The pod of brown fur seals, also known as ‘cape fur seals', were shot in Plettenberg Bay in South Africa by dive tour operator Rainer Schimpf.

Schimpf said: "They often use their whiskers to feel and it is great fun!"

The playful creatures prove they are not camera shy in the slightest as they they swim upside down, grin widely and attempt to bite the camera lens.

The diver shot the images in February 2016, showing the adorable cape fur seals resting, swimming and playing with each other and interacting with the photographer.

You would be forgiven for mistaking this friendly seal for an underwater bat

Schimpf said: “Some seals come and play, they feel and bite your wetsuit and camera. They often use their whiskers to feel and it is great fun!

Swimming with the seals is a popular activity for tourists during this time of the year

“Touching and petting the seals is a no go, if they want to approach you then that is fine, but we urge people not to corner them."

Cape fur seals are known to be inquisitive and friendly animals when in the water, and will often accompany scuba divers.

A young seal attempts to bite the lens of Schimpf's camera during a playful encounter

The German born photographer said: “At times there were up to 100 seals surrounding and swimming with us underwater.

South African fur seals have a healthy population with the harvesting of seals being outlawed in South Africa in 1990

“Swimming with these seals is a really popular activity for our tour during this time of year as there are a lot of puppies in the water and they are very playful and curious, they come towards you and they try to stick there noses everywhere to smell and to feel what you are.

The incredible underwater images show the seals swimming and playing with each other

“Mossel Bay which is right next to Plettenberg Bay is great for watching and swimming with the seals, often you can see up to 7000 seals.”

The South African fur seal is found along the coast of Namibia and the west and south coasts of South Africa.

Cape fur seals are known to be extremely inquisitive and friendly animals

The brown fur seal is split into two recognised subspecies, the cape fur seal and the Australian fur seal.

Rainer said: “At times there were up to 100 seals surrounding and swimming with us."

Australian fur seals were hunted intensively between 1798 and 1825 for commercial reasons and their population is still recovering.

South African fur seals have a very robust and healthy population with the harvesting of seals being outlawed in South Africa in 1990.