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Rare wildlife spotted at Crathes Castle

Tree roots at Crathes
Tree roots in Crathes Castle Estate are the perfect home for a variety of wildlife.
One of Scotland’s most elusive species of rabbit has been spotted on a Crathes Castle trail camera.

Images of a rare and unusually large rabbit have been captured in the extensive and ancient grounds of Crathes Castle, near Banchory.

The mammal was last spotted in the area almost exactly a year ago and this is the first time it has been photographed on the property’s network of trail cameras, which have previously snapped the equally rare Scottish wildcat, as well as animals such as red squirrels. Examination by expert rangers suggests this may well be the very same rabbit reported by witnesses on 16 April 2017.

Our Operations Manager at Crathes, James Henderson said:

‘When our rangers presented the images from the trail camera to me, I was absolutely flabbergasted.

‘I had heard about the previous sightings and doubted that the observers had accurately reported what they had seen. Now there is no doubt whatsoever.

‘My natural heritage colleagues tell me that this species of rabbit, Oryctolagus praegrandis, has been known in Scotland since at least medieval times. It is unusual to see it at all these days, and certainly quite unknown to see it still in its winter white coat so late in the year – but perhaps that is no surprise given how long the cold weather has lingered.

‘Past sightings seem to have only taken place around this time of year, so you never know, our visitors taking part in Easter Egg trails over the school holidays might be very lucky and catch sight of Crathes’ very own resident rabbit.’