Delightful otter makes a splash in busy Northampton park lake after making a home for the spring
A photographer has snapped one of the famously elusive creatures thriving in one of Northampton's urban parks
One of the UK's most beloved yet elusive animals has poked its head above the waters of a busy Northampton park lake.
A wild otter has been spotted swimming in one of the pond's at Abington Park where it has reportedly been making a splash for several weeks - at least for the walkers lucky enough to spot it.
But now, a crop of breath-taking pictures of the watery stoat have emerged after photographer Keith J Smith snapped it catching its breakfast one morning.
The Northampton-based shutterbug was lucky enough to see the otter diving for fish on a morning walk at around 7am on March 14.
Keith said: "I walk every morning in Abington Park and always have my camera on me.
"I saw a disturbance in one of the lakes, like a lot of bubbles, and there it was. It' something I've never seen before, an otter in the wild.
"I'm sure I've seen the otter in the last few weeks but it was never more than a shadow.
"I was suprised how big it was. It's tail must have been at least 18 inches alone. It would have been at least a metre long.
"My theory is it's swum up from the Nene."
It comes after an otter was spotted in the same lake in November 2019, while Keith is sure he saw one in 2020 as well.
Otters were once hunted to the brink of extinction, but in recent years have made a comeback due to conservation efforts and improving water quality.
They have large territories and nocturnal habits, making spotting one a rare but delightful experience.
Abington Park is one of Northampton's busiest spots for joggers, dog walkers and families.
To see more of Keith's work, visit his website.