Sea Mammals

Shetland is surrounded by rich and productive seas, which provide food for a larger variety of sea mammals than found anywhere else in the British Isles. Most sought after, and sitting at the top of the food chain, is the Orca or Killer Whale, which is now a regular visitor to Shetland in summer, often coming close inshore to search for seals. Minke Whales and several species of dolphin also appear from time to time but our smallest cetacean, the Harbour Porpoise, can usually be found in sounds (stretches of water between islands) by sharp-eyed observers.

Otter enlarge Otter Whilst more than a degree of good fortune is necessary to see cetaceans, Shetland's other sea mammals - Otters and seals, are much more reliable. Otters can be found along sheltered coastline, especially where the banks comprise peat and kelp beds rich in fish lie just offshore. Common and Grey Seals haul out at a number of places and are frequently observed idling offshore - often as interested onlookers of human behaviour!

These websites will point you to the best places to look for sea mammals, advise you on how to look for them as well as provide information on their identification and ecology.

Whales and Dolphins in Shetland Waters

Seals in Shetland Waters

Rare visitors

Otter watching

Download Our Brochure

For more information about Sea Mammals, download our free Sea Mammals brochure [.pdf approx. 1,5Mb]