Scottish Mammals – Otter, Red Squirrel, Deer

Scottish Mammals

Most large mammals became extinct in Scotland many years ago. There are however still a good variety of mammals to be found on land and in seas around the Scottish coast.


More Scottish Mammal images:

Some of Scotland’s best known mammals:

  • European Otter (Lutra lutra)– Scotland is a stronghold of the European Otter.
  • Pine Marten (Martes martes)– Once almost extinct in the UK. The Pine Marten now has a healthy population in Scotland. Their range continues to extend from the North West stronghold areas.
  • Scottish Wild Cat – The true Scottish Wildcat is probably Scotland’s rarest mammal. Reportedly less than one hundred remain in the wild. A major concern for preservation of the species being hybridisation through breeding with feral cats. You can find out more about Scottish Wildcat –
  • Red Deer – Very common throughout much of Scotland.
  • Roe Deer – Less common more localised than the Red Deer.
  • Badger – Common throughout much of Scotland.
  • Red Squirrel – The Red Squirrel is Scotland’s native species. The Grey Squirrel having been introduced from America.
  • Stoat (Mustela erminea) – Very common throughout much of Scotland.
  • Weasel (Mustela nivalis) – Less common than the Stoat but still common in many parts of Scotland.
  • Fox – Widespread throughout much of Scotland. With Urban Fox being common in many large towns and cities. More information about Fox can be found here –
  • Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus) – The mountain hare is believed to be the only native species of Rabbit or Hare to be found in Scotland.
  • European beaver (Castor fiber) – The European or Eurasian Beaver became extinct in Scotland around 400 years ago and is currently the subject of trial re-introduction. Further information can be found at

Other small Mammals:

  • Shrews – Three species Common shrew, Pigmy Shrew and Water Shrew
  • Water Vole (Arvicola amphibious)
  • Field Vole (Microtus agrestis)
  • Wood Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)
  • Orkney Vole – A larger variant of the common vole found only in the Orkneys
  • St Kilda Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus hirtensis)- A sub species of the wood mouse found only on St Kilda.
  • Hedgehog
  • Bats – There are believed to be up to 17 species of bats found in Scotland. While some such as the Pipistrelle are common and widespread others are rare and localised. More information about bats can be found here.

Cetaceans – Marine Mammals:

There are a wide range of Whale and Dolphin Species to be found around the coast of Scotland. The following are some most commonly found in waters around Scotland.

  • Atlantic white-sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus)
  • Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncates)
  • Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)
  • Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
  • Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)
  • Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)
  • Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas)
  • Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
  • Risso’s Dolphin (Grampus griseus)
  • Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus)
  • White-beaked Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris)

SNH provide a good publication on the Whales and Dolphins to be found in the waters around Scotland. The 58 page booklet can be downloaded here.