An elusive otter has been caught on camera near Burnham-On-Sea by wildlife enthusiasts.
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust has worked with residents at Steart, opposite Burnham, to set up the camera trap that took the photo after seeing otter prints in the soft mud on the banks of the stream.
Nearby residents have also built an artificial otter holt on the site, which is visible in the left of the photo above.
The largest new wetland nature reserve in the UK is currently being developed at Steart by the Environment Agency and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, as featured here.
“Steart Marshes will be the largest new wetland in the UK, so it’s going to be absolute heaven for otters, which are surely one of the UK’s most exciting wetland mammals,” said the trust’s Tim McGrath.
“It’s fantastic to have confirmation that they’re out there. Without using camera traps, it’s hard to know this how they’re using an area because they spend much of their time alone, only coming out at night and largely keeping to the water.”
Eurasian otters declined sharply due to pesticide use in the UK between the 1950s and 70s and the disappeared from most of England. Since those chemicals were withdrawn from use, they have started to spread out across rivers and wetlands and increased in numbers.