Adorable otters spotted swimming in the River Wear at Sunderland
These adorable otters were spotted swimming in Sunderland’s River Wear.
The great photos taken by Echo reader Kev Wilson capture the cute creatures enjoying a dip in the river during the warm August Bank Holiday weather.
The otters were seen in the river on the night of Saturday, August 24, following a day of glorious weather which saw temperatures across Wearside soar to 26 degrees.
The Washington Wetland Centre (WWT) said the improving conditions of the River Wear means that otters are now spotted more regularly.
David Dinsley, reserve warden at WWT Washington, said: “The reason why we are seeing otters in the River Wear is the state of the river itself.
“It used to be quite industrial but now its becoming cleaner year on year.
“The fish are now thriving in the river and this is improving the otter situation, as it is now better water to be in and there are more species for them to prey on.”
The otter is part of the same family as badgers, weasels, stoats, pine marten and mink.
They have have large lungs and can slow their heart rate down, which means they can remain under water for up to four minutes.
They make homes - or holts - in dense scrub next to water, in holes created by tree roots or in piles of loose logs.
In addition to fish, they also feast on eels, frogs, crabs and will also eat birds, either caught on the shore or in the water.
The biggest threat to them is the destruction of the habitat by humans and pesticides running off farmland and polluted watercourses - as well as being run over by vehicles on roads and paths.
Have you spotted otters in the River Wear recently?
Get in touch with us on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page to share your photos.
Or email snaps to our news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org