Rare otters have been spotted taking a swim in an Ipswich park in the centre of the town, with the otter potentially being there due to recent flooding.

A European otter, something rare to the south of the country, has been spotted in Holywells Park in Ipswich, with another believed to be in the waters at the park.

Otters have been seen in Ipswich in the past, along the River Orwell and in the Port of Ipswich, but it is not normal to spot one in an inland park.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) said: "The presence of an otter in Holywells Park demonstrates how wildlife is adapting to changing landscapes and habitat loss - and the importance of urban green spaces as habitat for wildlife.

"The recent flooding could explain why the otter had decided to move further inland."

Otters, one of the UK's top predators feeding on fish, crustaceans, amphibians and waterbirds, are a rare species that require clean rivers with an abundant source of food and plenty of vegetation to hide their secluded burrows.

The SWT went on to state that "no rivers in Suffolk, including the River Orwell, meet government targets for good water quality and ecological health"

They went on to say: "If rivers such as the Orwell are not healthy enough to support wildlife such as otters, they will search for better habitat."

David Dowding, wildlife and education team leader at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "We’re really excited to be seeing the otters here in Holywells Park.

"Whilst otters have made a comeback locally along the Orwell and Belstead Brook, it’s quite rare to see them and especially to have such an obliging animal in a public area, and in broad daylight.

"There seems to be at least two otters in Holywells Park.

"We believe the otters were a family living in the Waterfront. This would have required them to travel across road to reach the waterways within the park, possibly taking advantage of last week’s heavy rain and the resultant flooding.

"There’s currently plenty of food for them in Holywells but as the supply runs out, we expect they’ll move on.

"We’re asking dog walkers within the park to keep their animals on leads, particularly around the ponds, in the hope that the otters will stay."