AN otter cub rescued near Salisbury has been busy building up its strength in preparation to be released back into the wild.

Sarum was found at Old Sarum Hill Fort and was brought into RSPCA West Hatch in Somerset.

She was paired with another cub, Solent, who was found at Nursling near Southampton in October last year.

It is hoped the pair will able to be released later this year.

Solent was so young when she was rescued that at first, she had to be hand-reared.

But once she could fend for herself, as with all otters, staff at the wildlife centre were careful not to handle her too much to ensure she remained as wild as possible.

Sarum arrived a couple of months later on December 21 last year.

She was rescued by Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital in Newton Tony after being found on a doorstep.

The feisty youngster gave the homeowners who found her the shock of their lives after one of them had gone to put their foot to the ground and the pup came out of its hiding place and tried to bite it.

It was a mystery how the pup came to be on the doorstep.

Sarum and Solent spent last winter in a pool pen indoors, but once the weather got better, the West Hatch staff put a pool outside in the paddock, where they are now having fun frolicking in and out of the water.

Bel Deering, the manager of the RSPCA’s West Hatch animal centre, said: “Solent and Sarum enjoy eating trout, which we buy fresh for them. They are very playful and have really enjoyed being out in the paddock having vegetation and water to play around it.

“They adapt things they find to play with – like a length of hose or sticks. They are very social and play together, which helps them to develop their skills for living and hunting in the wild once they are old enough for release.”

The charity says if members of the public find a baby animal that seems to be alone, avoid touching it but just watch it from a distance.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “The RSPCA receives many calls about young animals from people who think they are orphaned but it’s likely that the parents are nearby, waiting for people to leave. Keep an eye on it to see if the parents return. If you’re sure the animal has been orphaned, call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”