One of the most wonderful things about Scotland is its wildlife. This is no less true when you are on a driving holiday, but the abundance of animals and birds does present an extra hazard for those embarking on a Scottish road trip.
Farm animals and other livestock
Sheep and cows often graze freely beside the road, and you may well encounter them on the road as well. Always travel at a safe speed and be prepared to stop as you go around corners or up hills where you can't see very far ahead. Note that with herds or flocks of cattle or sheep, it's very common for more animals to follow if one of them crosses the road - lambs will almost always cross the road to follow their mother, for example, so don't assume that because only one has crossed, the others will stay put.
You may find - especially on low-traffic roads - that the animals have made themselves especially comfortable on the road, perhaps even lying down. If this happens, you should slow to a crawl well in advance and approach with care. This is normally enough to encourage the animals to move on, but if they are particularly stubborn you may just have to stop and wait. Noisily revving of your engine or over-use of the horn can cause unnecessary stress to animals and may even provoke aggression, which could result in damage to your car. The best advice we can give is to be patient and try to see the funny side! It's always an entertaining and quintessentially Scottish experience to encounter a roadblock of hairy cows, and you'll be able to take some wonderful photos as you wait for them to move out of your way.
Deer and other wild animals are unfortunately regularly involved in accidents on Scotland's roads. They often cross over or stray into the road, and this is more common in very rural or low-traffic areas.
You can reduce the likelihood of being involved in a collision by keeping your speed slow and safe, giving yourself plenty of space to stop, and by using your lights correctly at night. Expect the unexpected!
Normally you won't encounter birds on the road, but if you are in a quiet area or if there is something tasty on the road (an unfortunate rabbit or deer, perhaps), you may find that birds of prey can't resist taking a rest or having a snack on the road.
Just because birds can fly doesn't mean that they will, so give them space to move on. Again, your best chance of avoiding causing injury or death to a bird is to ensure you always drive at a safe speed with plenty of time to stop.