AMATEUR photographer Karen Lynch went for a walk on a frosty day and was stunned when an otter came wandering towards her.

She had stepped out into fields behind her home at Lower Bullingham, Hereford, to take some pictures during the recent icy weather.

A brook runs through the area where she was walking, making it a suitable habitat for the famously shy but endearing creature.


Karen said: "The otter came out and walked towards me for a while.

"As you can imagine, I was absolutely thrilled and stunned to see one. I had never seen one in the wild before."

Otters were on the brink of extinction in England 25 years ago.

Hereford Times: Otter in Lower Bullingham, HerefordOtter in Lower Bullingham, Hereford (Image: Karen Lynch)

They had been devastated by agricultural chemicals leaching from the land into waterways and polluting the food chain.

But numbers have slowly recovered after improvements in water quality.

They are one of the country's most-loved animals, though are not popular with everyone. Some fishermen fear they take too many fish.

Otters are comfortable both on land and water. They have webbed feet, dense fur to keep them warm, and can close their ears and nose underwater.

Although their main diet is fish, they will also eat waterbirds, amphibians and crustaceans.