Wildlife in Shetland

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Watch this video and see some of Scotland's remarkable wildlife, from timourous red squirrels to playful dolphins.
Great Scottish wildlife

See some of Scotland's remarkable wildlife, from timourous red squirrels to playful dolphins.

VisitScotland Shetland guide
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A genuine unspoiled wilderness, the Shetland isles offer some truly unforgettable opportunities to get up close and experience an amazing variety of wildlife.

The region is one of the prime birdwatching locations in Europe. Location and landscape combine to attract seabirds in numbers that are almost impossible to count accurately as they flock to the seacliffs and coastline during the summer breeding season.

The islands are also an important winter home for migrating birds who swell the numbers of native species that include some of the rarest birds in the UK.

You'll find unrivalled access to many of these species on various reserves here run by the RSPB and Scotland's Natural Heritage.

On land and in the sea around it, Shetland's mammals are also a major attraction for visitors. It's impossible not to be charmed by the world-famous Shetland ponies and the bustling otters while you can take a wildlife cruise to spot porpoises, minke whales, dolphins and seals in the cold, clear water.

Whether you're a dedicated wildlife-watcher or just enjoy spotting various species as you roam, Shetland never disappoints!

  • Seabirds at the Hams of Roe, Muckle Roe
    Seabirds at the Hams of Roe, Muckle Roe
  • A wildlife boat trip, Noss
    A wildlife boat trip, Noss
  • Gannets roosting at the bottom of cliffs on the Isle of Noss off the east coast of Bressay
    Gannets roosting on the Isle of Noss off the east coast of Bressay
Shetland pony foal with its mother

Finding wildlife

Explore Shetland which is home to a vast array of amazing wildlife from millions of seabirds to seals and spectacular flowers.

A wildlife boat trip, Noss

Birdwatching

Whether an avid twitcher or an amateur spotter, Shetland's amazing bidlife will leave you spoiled for choice.

Gannets roost on a rock shelf on the Isle of Noss

Hides, reserves and visitor centres

The unique landscapes of Shetland provide habitat to a wide range of species just waiting to be discovered.

Seal, Lerwick harbour

Shetland wildlife trail

Discover a selection of Shetland's varied wildlife at the nature centres on this itinerary