The woods, mountains, lochs and coasts of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park are rich in wildlife. Below is some information about some of the animal species that live in the National Park and where you might see them. Click on the headings below to find out more...
The otter is a semi-aquatic mammal with a thick brown waterproof coat which is often paler on the underside. They have a slender body, long thick tail, small ears and webbed feet to help them swim in the water. Otters are a fairly large mammal measuring over 3 feet (1 metre) long and weighing up to 22 pounds (10kg) - about the size of a West Highland Terrier! They are happiest living either beside the sea or in freshwater habitats including lochs, rivers and marshes.
The National Park is home to several pairs of breeding ospreys who arrive here to mate each spring. Keen observers can spot them hunting over many of our lochs in the summer months. Loch Venachar, Loch Lomond, Loch Eck and the Lake of Menteith are some of the places where you might see these beautiful birds.
Despite being a relative of the eagles, their grey and white colouration means that with a passing glance, they can sometimes be mistaken for very large gulls. On closer inspection, the difference is very obvious.
Best known as Ratty in Wind in the Willows, the water vole’s population has declined drastically in recent years and they are now one of Britain’s most threatened native mammals. The American mink which originally escaped from fur farming industries, have adapted to the same watercourses that were traditional sites for the water voles and have been their predators for almost 50 years.
The powan is a Scottish variety of the freshwater whitefish. Unfortunately its numbers are in serious decline and the lochs of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park hold the only population of this fish in Scotland. The powan is therefore a protected species and must not be caught by anglers.
The black grouse is a large bird found mainly in areas of upland moorland and hill farms, often near forestry plantations. As is common with many gamebirds, the male black grouse is larger and visually more impressive than the female. He has black plumage, a red wattle and a distinctive white stripe along each wing. He also has a lyre-shaped tail, which looks forked in flight.
The freshwater pearl mussel is a rare type of shellfish that belongs to the mollusc family. As their name suggests they can only live in freshwater - in rivers and streams. They need clear, oxygen rich water with little silt and the rivers of the Scottish Highlands provide this. They live longer then sea mussels and can survive for more than 100 years.
Native roe and red deer can be found in much of the woodlands and forests of the National Park, and have been present in Britain since the end of the last ice age. In addition, a small population of fallow deer exists around Loch Lomond and recently a few exotic Sika deer have been found in the Park having strayed from neighbouring areas.
The red squirrel, one of our most popular and well loved mammals, is Britain’s only native squirrel and has been part of our fauna for thousands of years. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is one of the few places where this special animal can still be seen.