Finding wildlife in Scotland

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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.

  • A golden eagle.
    A golden eagle
  • Close up shot of puffins on the Pentland Skerries
    Puffins on the Pentland Skerries
  • A close up of a red kite soaring high above Bellymack Hill Farm in Dumfries & Galloway
    A red kite soaring high above Bellymack Hill Farm in Dumfries & Galloway
  • Seals in Loch Flodabay, Isle of Harris
    Seals in Loch Flodabay, Isle of Harris

Whether on a mountain or hill, in a glen, forest or along the shoreline, there’s a wealth of wildlife experiences to be had in Scotland. With such an array of diverse animals, including some of the most rare and endangered species on the British Isles, Scotland promises unforgettable encounters with wildlife.

Scotland’s regions vary greatly and it’s this diversity that attracts many different species to make Scotland their home. Along thousands of miles of coastline, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and otters in quiet inlets, beaches and sea lochs.

Often spotted off the coast of Scotland’s many islands, orca and minke whales make an appearance in sight of the shore or if not, draw up close next to boats on wildlife cruises.  On just such a cruise, there are few natural sights more impressive than watching tens of thousands of seabirds congregating on sheer sea cliffs from below.

In dense forests, you may have to seek the helping hand of a knowledgeable, professional guide to find elusive mammals like pine martens. Birdlife is truly abundant across the rugged Scottish landscapes from wild fowl in wetland reserves to waders at the coast. In some cases, you'll have to crane your neck skywards to catch a glimpse of some of Scotland's majestic hunters; from ospreys to red kites and golden eagles to sea eagles.

With each new season brings a new incomparable sight, from red deer stags locking antlers in the annual autumnal rut or the arrival of pink-footed geese in the winter, migrating from the colder tundra landscapes of Greenland and Iceland.

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  1. Scottish Wildlife Trust Headquarters

    Type

    Wildlife, Safari Parks & Zoos

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Manages over 125 Wildlife reserves throughout Scotland.

  2. Skye Serpentarium Reptile World

    Type

    Wildlife, Safari Parks & Zoos

    Gradings

    Broadford

    Skye Serpentarium Reptile World is an award-winning reptile exhibition and breeding centre.

  3. Loch Maree Islands

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Gairloch

    The Loch Maree Islands are a group of scattered islands on Loch Maree.

  4. Isle of May

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Anstruther

    Anchored on the edge of the Firth of Forth, the Isle of May is a magical mix of seabirds, seals and smugglers.

  5. Applegarthtown Wildlife Sanctuary

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    • 2 Wildlife Experience
    2 Wildlife Experience

    Lockerbie

    Applegarthtown, with its wetland habitat, is internationally recognised for its highly successful artificial sand martin nesting banks.

  6. Loch Muick Reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Ballater

    Loch Muick Reserve is located 8 miles south west of Ballater in Aberdeenshire, and is part of the Balmoral Estate.

  7. Island Cruising

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    Uig - Lewis

    Experience an unforgettable cruise around the remote islands of the Hebrides aboard the well-equipped vessel, the MV Cuma, with Island Cruising.

  8. Loch Of The Lowes Visitor Centre

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience

    Dunkeld

    Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve covers 98 hectares near Dunkeld. The star attraction is a pair of breeding ospreys who nest here over the summer.

  9. Rouken Glen Park

    Type

    Parks & Gardens

    Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Giffnock

    Rouken Glen Park, at 143 acres, is one of the largest parks in Scotland and in the top 10 most visited.

  10. Formartine & Buchan Way

    Type

    Wildlife & Nature walks

    Gradings

    Fraserburgh

    Designated as one of Scotland’s Great Trail, this popular with walkers and cyclist path is an exciting long-distance route.

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