Burnham-On-Sea Police have appealed for help in tracking down the culprit who set a snare that killed a wild otter.

Staff from Secret World Wildlife Rescue, based in East Huntspill near Burnham-On-Sea, were called out by the Environment Agency last week to rescue an otter caught in a snare at Bleadon Sluice gates.

The crudely-made snare, pictured here, had trapped the otter around its middle, and a response driver had difficulty in rescuing it as it was a full grown male weighing 8.7kilos.

The animal was taken to Quantock Veterinary Hospital where the snare was removed.

The animal at first appeared to not have suffered severe injuries, but sadly it then deteriorated and died within 48 hours, most likely due to internal bleeding.

Carers at Secret World say that from the position and the size of the snare it would appear to have been set deliberately to catch an otter, and a stake had been driven in to the mud to secure the snare.

Secret World Founder Pauline Kidner told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It is such a waste to see an otter in prime condition killed by a thoughtless person with had no qualms in setting the evil device that has caused pain and trauma to this wild creature.”

“I just don’t understand why it’s possible for anyone who wants one to buy a snare that can be set either legally or illegally.”

“Set legally, a free running snare loosens when the animal relaxes, but it can also be set illegally as a self-locking snare, so then every time the animal pulls against it the snare gets tighter and tighter, causing horrendous wounds and eventually killing the animal.”

“These snares are indiscriminate – cats and dogs have been caught up in them too. We think snares like this should be banned.”

Anyone with information regarding the setting of the snare should contact Burnham Police by calling 101 and asking for the local Wildlife Liaison Officer PC Peter Wills.