'Secretive otters' thrill reserve
Published 17/01/2012 | 16:24
One of the country's most secretive creatures has become a regular at an RSPB reserve.
A family of otters have taken up residence at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk, delighting visitors by swimming and catching fish in full view.
Otters were once commonplace in Britain but have become a rare sight since the 1950s.
Over the past two weeks, up to three otters have been seen frolicking at the reserve's new Island Mere hide every morning, taking visitors by surprise.
Robin Harvey, site manager at Minsmere, said "January is one of the best times to see otters, but this number is over and above what would be expected normally.
"For many visitors this is the first time they have seen otters. Hopefully they will stay around for a while."
Otters returned to Minsmere in the 1980s, partly due to a reintroduction programme, and now have a thriving population. Although they have been most visible during the morning, the otter family have been spotted at all times of the day.