The Scottish Highlands surrounding Inverness are a foreboding and wild landscape. Full of rolling glens, deep lochs and thick forests. This is the perfect environment for the intrepid explorer to discover the wide array of wildlife that call this beautiful part of Scotland home. On your next visit to the Highlands why not try to spot some of our beautiful, yet elusive wildlife? We have curated a “Scottish Wildlife Safari” just for you! How many will you tick off the list?
1. Red Squirrel
One of the most iconic animals in Scotland is the Red Squirrel. This little fluffy animal was at one time wide spread across Scotland. However, its population has reduced greatly since its peak in the late 19th century. This was due to the introduction of the larger American Grey Squirrel, which quickly spread across the UK and began competing with the Red Squirrel for food and territory. The Red Squirrel population began to shrink until it hit a low of 140,000 individuals in the UK. Things began to change in the late 20th century when conservation efforts were introduced and the population began to see a resurgence.
2. Pine Marten
Can you spot this elusive relative of the weasel? The Pine Marten is a small mammal usually found in woodland areas. They are fantastic climbers and are just as at home up a tree as they are in their burrow. Lookout for their tell-tale bushy tail and cat-like calls.
3. Golden Eagle
You’ll be wanting to direct your gaze skyward for the next animal on our list. Is it a plane? Is it superman? No it’s a Golden Eagle! Scotland’s top aerial predator. This massive bird of prey has a wing span of over two metres and mainly hunts rabbits and mountain hares. You’ll have to have the eyes of hawk to spot one though!
4. Scottish Wildcat
Perhaps the rarest animal on our list, The Scottish Wildcat isn’t some run of the mill moggy. The Scottish Wildcat differs from a regular domestic cat, it’s bigger, more robust with distinct markings. You will have to be incredibly lucky to spot one of these elusive animals. Less than 4,000 individuals exist today in Scotland and predominantly live in wooded habitats near forest edges.
5. Red Deer
We’ve all seen the iconic photo of the majestic stag proudly standing in the middle of a glen while the mist rolls down the slopes. Why just leave it as a photo? Why not experience it yourself (from afar that is!)? The Red Deer is the UK’s largest land mammal, with males reaching a stag-gering 190kg! These deer are common in all areas of Scotland and are easily distinguishable from other deer species due to their large branching antlers.