The red deer is the largest native land mammal in Britain. They are at their most impressive in autumn during the height of their breeding season, which is known as the rut. Between late September and November the stags compete for female companions, filling the hills with the sounds of clashing antlers and bellowing roars.
The best places to observe this ritual are in the Highlands or on the islands of Rum, Mull, Jura, and Arran. Deer spend most of the summer months up in hills and glens, but can be spotted on lower ground during winter as they search for food. You can watch deer at attractions including the Scottish Deer Centre in Fife, the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore and Beecraigs Country Park in West Lothian.
With webbed feet, dense fur and the ability to close their ears and nose underwater, otters are well suited to a life in Scotland. They are shy and require patience and time to spot in the wild, so it’s a good idea to join a guided tour.
They are particularly abundant in Shetland, and are often spotted from the car while waiting to board inter-island ferries. Other places to look out for them are in reserves and on the island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, The Isle of Skye and in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. To be certain that you’ll see one it’s best to visit an attraction such as the Scottish SEA LIFE Sanctuary in Oban.