scotland wild animals If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, you’re in for a treat. Not only is the country full of stunning scenery, but you’ll also have the chance to encounter some of its unique wildlife. From red deer and Highland cows to golden eagles and Scottish wildcats, here are 10 of the wild animals you might spot during your visit.
The Wild Animals of Scotland
There are many different types of wild animals that you may encounter while visiting Scotland. These include red deer, roe deer, red squirrels, otters, seals, and dolphins. While some of these animals are more common in certain areas than others, all of them can be found throughout the country.
The red deer is the largest land mammal in Scotland and can be found in both the Highlands and lowlands. Roe deer are much smaller and are most commonly found in woodlands. Red squirrels are also found in woods, as well as coniferous forests.
Otters can be found along Scottish coasts and rivers, and are often seen fishing for their next meal. Seals are another common sight along the coastline, particularly on islands such as the Isle of Skye. Dolphins can also be spotted offshore, particularly around the Hebrides Islands.
The Red deer
If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a red deer in the wild, you’ll be seeing one of Scotland’s most iconic animals. These magnificent creatures are the largest land mammals in the UK, and can weigh up to 350kg! They’re usually found in woodlands and mountain areas, but have also been known to venture into more urban areas in search of food.
During the summer months, you may see red deer with their distinctive reddish-brown coats. However, their coat color changes to a more greyish-brown in the winter. male red deer are called stags, while females are known as hinds. Both sexes grow antlers, which are shed each year and regrow larger each time.
If you’re out walking in the Scottish Highlands and spot a red deer, be sure to keep your distance as they can be aggressive when they feel threatened.
The Roe deer
Roe deer are one of the most common animals you’ll encounter in Scotland. These small, timid deer are often seen in woodlands and fields, and are a popular target for wildlife photographers.
Roe deer are brown or reddish-brown in colour, with white spots on their backs and sides. They have long legs and a short tail, and males (bucks) have antlers. Females (does) do not have antlers, but they can be distinguished from males by their smaller size.
Roe deer are mostly active at dawn and dusk, but they can sometimes be seen during the day. They are shy animals, and will usually run away if they see humans. However, if you’re lucky enough to get close to a roe deer, you’ll be able to see their beautiful eyes up close.
The Mountain hare
The mountain hare is one of the most iconic animals in Scotland. This small, brown rabbit is found in the Highlands and is a popular target for game hunters. The mountain hare is also known as the blue mountain hare, due to its grey-blue fur in winter. These rabbits are shy and elusive, but if you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll be rewarded with a truly stunning sight.
The Brown hare
The Brown Hare is one of the most popular animals in Scotland. They are usually found in fields and meadows, but can also be seen in woods and forests. Brown Hares are shy creatures and are not often seen by humans. When they are disturbed, they will run away quickly. These animals are most active at dawn and dusk.
The European badger
The European badger is a type of badger that is found in Europe. It is the largest species of badger and can weigh up to 11kg. The European badger is a nocturnal animal and it feeds on earthworms, insects, small mammals, and fruit. Badgers are shy animals and they live in social groups called cetes. A group of badgers is known as a clan. The European badger has a black-and-white striped head and its body is greyish-brown. It has short legs and long claws which help it to dig for food.
The Eurasian otter
The Eurasian otter is a member of the mustelid family, which also includes weasels, badgers, and wolverines. These animals are typically found in or near water and are known for their excellent swimming abilities. The Eurasian otter is no exception, and can often be seen fishing or playing in rivers and lakes.
Despite their aquatic habits, otters are not immune to the cold and can be found huddled together in dens during the winter months. In Scotland, these dens are often located in abandoned burrows or natural crevices along the coastline.
Otters are generally shy animals but can be quite playful when they feel safe. If you’re lucky enough to spot one while out on a hike or walk along the beach, be sure to give them plenty of space and respect their privacy.
The Scottish wildcat
1. The Scottish wildcat is a very rare sight in the wild, as there are only an estimated 100-300 left in the world. They are shy animals, so you’re unlikely to see one unless you’re really lucky.
2. If you do spot a Scottish wildcat, you’ll know it by its distinctive appearance. It has long legs, big feet and a bushy tail, and its coat is usually tabby-patterned with black stripes.
3. These beautiful creatures are under threat from habitat loss and persecution from humans, so if you’re lucky enough to see one, please admire it from afar and don’t disturb its natural habitat.
scotland wild animals The Red fox
1. The red fox is the most common wild animal you’ll encounter in Scotland. They’re found in all parts of the country, and they’re especially prevalent in rural areas.
2. Red foxes are relatively small animals, with a body length of between 35 and 45 cm (14-18 inches). They have reddish-brown fur, which is usually lighter on their underside, and a white-tipped tail.
3. Although they’re mostly solitary animals, red foxes will sometimes form pairs or small groups. These groups are called “earths”, and they’re usually made up of a male and several females with their cubs.
4. Red foxes are omnivorous animals, and their diet consists of a wide range of items including insects, rodents, birds, fruits, and vegetables. In wintertime, when food is scarce, they’ll also eat carrion (dead animals).
5. Red foxes are very adaptable animals, and they’re able to live in a wide variety of habitats including forest edges, grasslands, urban areas, and even Arctic tundra!
scotland wild animals The Grey seal
The grey seal is one of the most common seals seen in Scotland. They can be found in large numbers around the coast, particularly on the islands.
Grey seals are incredibly social creatures and can often be seen basking on the rocks or swimming in the sea. They are also very curious and will often approach humans that they encounter.
Despite their friendly nature, it is important to remember that seals are wild animals and should not be touched or fed.