Highland Wildlife

There are many creatures indigenous to the Highlands of Scotland. Below are just a few photographs of some of the more well known animals.



Red Deer
(Cervus elaphus) Stag

The Red Deer is Britains largest wild animal and is found mainly in the Scottish Highlands. They are not seen in great numbers during the summer months but come winter they make their way down to the lower levels to search for food. The stags coat is reddish brown darkening to grayish brown in winter with lighter underparts and a light rump. A stag with twelve tines to his antlers is known as a 'Royal'.



The Wildcat
(Felis catus)

Wildcat

The wildcat can now only be found in the Scottish Highlands and its natural habitat is wooded countryside. It is very rarely seen but is active around early morning and late evening. It hunts prey such as rabbits, mice, gamebirds, etc. It makes its' home usually in a burrow or a hollowed out tree.


The Pine Marten
(M. martes) Pine Marten

The Pine Marten is a weasel-like, carnivore found mainly in wooded areas in the Highlands of Scotland. It has a dark brown coat with an undivided, yellowish throat patch. The Pine Marten is a protected species in the UK.



 Golden Eagle






The Golden Eagle
(Aquila chrysaëtos)

This great bird, with it's magnificent flight, is seldom seen except in Northern Scotland, where it still breeds. The plumage is dark brown with golden-brown on the head and nape. The feathers on the legs distinguish it from the Sea-eagle. It's habitat is mountains, crags and wooded highlands. It's prey includes rabbits, hares, rats, grouse,small lambs and carrion.




The Red Squirrel
(Sciurus vulgaris)

Squirrel

The Red Squirrel in Britain is an endangered species. They live in tree hollows, or a nest built of leaves and twigs and are usually active throughout the year. Squirrels are primarily vegetarian and are noted for their fondness of seeds and nuts. Females bear one or more litters a year, a litter may consist of 1 to 15 young.



Osprey

The Osprey
(Pandion haliaëtus)

A magnificent bird with long angular wings, also called Fish-Hawk. Lives near water, fresh or salt, where it may be seen plunging and catching fish with its claws. The nest is made of sticks and is usually on a tree or ledge. The size of the bird is approximately 20-23 inches (51-58cm). The Osprey is a scarce migrant usually to the east coast and breeds in small numbers each year in Scotland.








Mountain Hare



Mountain Hare
(Lepus timidus)

Mountain hare populations may number over 350,000, but there have been recent declines. In mountain habitats they are an important food source for Golden Eagles, though the mountain hares white coat offers superb camoflage in Winter. Also called blue hares, leverets have been found as high as 4,200 ft in the Cairngorms.





The Otter
(Lutra lutra) The Otter

Found in parts of Scotland by the rivers and coast, the otter is now a rare sight in the rest of britain, although legal protection and conservation schemes are slowly restoring numbers. Dog and bitch otters come together only for mating, which may occur at any time in the year. With short strong legs and webbed feet, powerful tail and long body the otter is ideally streamlined for water.







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