Scottish Highland Cattle

Bos taurus

Mammal | Northwestern Scotland

Animal Info

Ruby, our Scottish Highland cow, is very inquisitive but shy and will not usually approach strangers.  She is fairly calm throughout the year, but on the first large snowfall, she frolics through the snow like an energetic calf!

Scottish Highland cattle have long, thick, course hair to protect them from cold temperatures and moist conditions common to the Scottish Highlands.  This breed appears to be more resistant to common bovine diseases than other cattle breeds.

Red is the most common color found today, but Highlanders can be found in black, dun, silver, and yellow.  Horns are found on both males and females.


In the wild: Rough plant matter such as grasses, lichens, and mosses

At the Zoo: Mixture of timothy and alfalfa hay


Highlands of Scotland, a rugged, remote rocky region comprising Northwestern Scotland with mountains and course vegetation throughout

Conservation Status

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – not evaluated

Although domestic cattle are not threatened, there are five Bovid species which are in need of protections:

Bos gaurus (Gaur)

IUCN: Vulnerable

Found in India, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia

Bos javanicus (Banteng)

IUCN: Endangered

Found in Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and sporadically in Indonesia.  Small population introduced to Australia

Bos mutus (Wild Yak)

IUCN: Vulnerable

Historically found in China and India. 

Believed to be extinct in all countries except China

Bos sauveli (Grey Ox/Kouprey)

IUCN: Critically Endangered

Found in Cambodia and southern Laos

Bubalus arnee (Indian Water Buffalo)

IUCN: Endangered

Found in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia; all extremely fragmented