Watch this adorable dolphin make fast friends with a tiny human

little girl interacting with dolphin at aquarium
TikTok | Carly Keech

If your heart could use a little warming today, look no further than the video below. It was shared by Carly Keech during her visit to the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport, Mississippi this September. She had brought along her 2-year old daughter Ryenn, who apparently loves dolphins. That’s a pretty common trait among kids (and humans in general), but what was really special was how much one particular dolphin loved her back. Take a look.

@carlysiobhankeech♬ original sound – Carly Siobhan Keech

The clip has racked up 10.3 million views and counting on Carly’s TikTok (@carlysiobhankeech), and it’s easy to see why. You can see Ryenn waving to a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, most of whom swim on by. She apparently makes a connection with a dolphin named Axl, though, who does a twirl and stops to look directly at the delighted little girl. He stays there for the better part of a minute, moving his mouth and nodding his head as if in conversation.

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You can hear Mom saying “he loves you” on the clip, and it’s hard to disagree. According to his bio on the Mississippi Aquarium site, Axl is the largest dolphin in his group, and his “favorite toy to play with is a buoy” — but it’s clear that his favorite playmate is the little girl.

After Carly posted the moment on her TikTok account, it didn’t take long for the clip to go viral, eventually catching the notice of USA Today and gaining a spotlight on Good Morning America. In the aftermath of this newfound fame, the Mississippi Aquarium made Carly and Ryenn annual passholders, ensuring that Ryenn would get to see a lot more of her new friend.

Speaking with the aquarium’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Carly called all the attention “surreal,” but believes that Ryenn will treasure the moment long after her 15 minutes of fame are up.

“That was a core memory right there,” said Carly.

MORE: Dolphins use ‘baby talk’ with their calves, just like humans

Animals, Family & Parenting, Good News, Life, News, Parenting, Viral
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About the Author
Tod Caviness
Tod covered everything from nightlife to Orlando's literary scene (yes, it has one) during his 11 years with the Orlando Sentinel. These days, he's a freelance journalist and recovering poet who lives in Central Florida with his lovely wife, two brilliant kids and one underachieving dog.

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