Say cheese! Rare moment cute dolphin flashes a toothy grin and waves at stunned tourists

 Jodi Frediani / Caters News

Tourists were stunned when this cheeky chappy popped out of the water, waving and flashing a rare toothy grin.

The friendly Risso’s dolphin was snapped breaching near Monterey Bay in California and delighted onlookers when he appeared to smile for the camera.

Jodi Frediani / Caters News

Jodi Frediani captured the spectacular shot and said it was a very unusual thing to see.

She said: “It’s very rare to see inside the mouth of a breaching dolphin like this. In fact, this is a first for me.

“As for this little one, I’d guess that it’s either a clumsy juvenile who forgot to keep his mouth closed or, as my friends have speculated, maybe a sign of joy, or youthful experimentation.

“I often see humpback whales with their mouths open part way through a breach but that appears to be a matter of gravity as they fall back to the water.

Jodi Frediani / Caters News

“Maybe this little one was just smiling at us and its friends.”

Risso’s dolphins have a rounded head rather than the classic ‘bottlenose’ of the famous dolphin ‘Flipper’ most people are familiar with.

They tend to keep their mouths closed when they’re not feeding and they feed under the surface of the water on squid.

It is often thought many animals use facial expressions to communicate.