Otter spotted enjoying the sunshine in River Wear
An adorable otter was captured swimming in the River Wear in Sunderland.
The fantastic photo was taken by Andrew Sutherland who captured the cute creature enjoying a dip in the river as the sun shone on the city.
The lone otter was spotted on Thursday, May 13 in the sunshine.
Vivien Kent, Co-founder of the North East Otter Network said sightings of otters in the River Wear are fairly regular.
She said: “Otters are active throughout the year and can also give birth at any time of the year – as the days lengthen there is more chance of their being seen in daylight due to the need for the animals to continue hunting outside the limited hours of darkness in order to get enough food.
"Otters are generally most likely to be seen at around dawn and dusk, but there are exceptions and there are records of them being seen at all times of the day.”
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.
Otters make homes - or holts - in dense scrub next to water, in holes created by tree roots or in piles of loose logs.
Vivien added: “Otters are apex predators and as such live at low densities, they are extremely territorial and defend very large home territories – an adult male otter's territory can extend up to 40km of watercourse and a female's up to 20km.
“A sighting of an otter in Sunderland on one day, and a sighting of an otter in say Washington the next does not mean that they are different animals because they are so wide-ranging it is quite likely to be the same animal.”
The North East Otter Network is asking anyone who sees an otter to log the sighting on their website to help monitor the North East otters.
Have you spotted otters in the River Wear recently?
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Or email snaps to our news desk at [email protected]