We are lucky to have the second largest fish in the world cruising Scottish waters each summer - an exciting site. The basking shark grows up to 10m long, and a few places in Scotland are particular hotspots for seeing them. Once fished commercially, the basking shark has had full legal protection since 1998. These gentle giants have no teeth and their massive bodies are nourished entirely by plankton soup as they “bask” on the surface with their huge mouths open to feed. Basking sharks can often be seen around the Western Isles of Coll and Tiree.
Common & Grey Seals
All year round
Common Seals: With it’s dappled coat and dog-like shaped head, the common or “harbour seal” is the seal most likely to be seen by many watchers near land. They are abundant round the west coast of Scotland. You can tell a common seal from the “V” shaped nostrils. Common seals pup in the summer.
Grey Seals: Scotland is arguably the best place in the world to see Atlantic Grey Seals. The number and spread of grey seals around Scotland makes them fairly easy to see in many places around the country’s lengthy and attractive coast. You can tell a grey seal from the long head and parallel nostrils.
Dolphins & Porpoise
Spring & Summer
Dolphins: Scottish bottlenose dolphins are large, robust animals measuring up to 3.8m long and weighing 400kg when fully grown. They are seen throughout the entire Hebridean area, particular hotspots being the isles of Mull, Coll, Tiree and Barra. Bottlenose dolphins are usually seen in social groups of 3 to 10, and are famously inquisitive, active and playful, often seen bow-riding and leaping clear of the water.
Porpoise: The harbour porpoise is the smallest of the cetacean species found in the Hebrides. They are widespread throughout the coastal regions of the Hebrides, and resident all year round. Commonly seen in groups of two to five, they are thought of as being quite elusive animals, rarely approaching vessels, and not known for aerial activity.