The Myth and Mystery of Scotland’s Wild Haggis The creature is said to be the source of the iconic Scottish dish. BY ANNE EWBANK JANUARY 15,* 2019 ...

Legend surrounds the wild haggis. According to many cryptid directories, the wild haggis is an unbalanced beast whose legs of unequal length enable it to lope up steep Scottish hillsides with ease. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-is-haggis

Physical depictions of the wild haggis vary, but one museum has a “specimen.” In a taxidermy display at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, there is a lone wild haggis. Shaggy and short-legged, it is displayed beside a prepared haggis for comparison, and a plaque declares that this is the Haggis scoticus.

The wild haggis, next to a prepared haggis for comparison. EMOSCOPES/CC BY-SA 2.5

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A problem here is that the prepared haggis in the picture appears rather blob-like. There is no sign of the skeleton or even muscle tissue.

Also, in all the legends, the haggis has different length legs on its two sides that allow it to run around the Scottish hillsides, but only in a clockwise direction otherwise it is unbalanced. The specimen in the picture does not seem to reflect this.

Are there any authentic pictures of haggis in the wild - preferably videos? Are there any skeletons or diagrams of skeletons?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not all legends are meant to be taken seriously $\endgroup$
    – Joe Smith
    Aug 22, 2020 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ :-) Are you asking for real bigfoot... I mean, Haggis pictures? (Off-topic, not worldbuilding), or was that a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek request for creativity (on-topic)? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 22, 2020 at 23:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JBH - I'll let you decide! $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2020 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ Why stop at one? Australia's Bunyip, Himalayan Yeti, North American Sasquatch come to mind also. There must be lots more. $\endgroup$
    – Bohemian
    Aug 23, 2020 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget the en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahu also with shorter legs on one side. Pretty useful since it lives in the Alps... until it turns on the other side... $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2020 at 8:30

2 Answers 2


Scottish Musk-Rat (Haggis Scoticus):

Clearly this is a northern variety of musk-rat with unusually long limbs capable of being folded over on themselves to achieve a stride where the animal appears to have a short-limbed walk on one side (leg folded) while on the other side the limbs are fully extended, appearing to then have long limbs on one side, and short on the other. The movement of the limbs is concealed by the long fur (evident in your picture), an adaptation to more northern climates.

The appearance of haggis comes from the tragic reaction that Scottish musk-rats have when consuming oats and barley from crops. Digestive problems lead the Scottish musk-rat to suffer from ruminal tympany, and the animal swells up dramatically with gasses. Rupturing the swollen animal's stomach is fatal, causing a steaming explosion of internal organs and grains.

Tragically, the Scottish musk-rats were wiped out in 1935 during an effort to contain the spread of imported continental musk-rats brought to Scotland.


The wild haggis could have evolved from a primitive, shrew-like mammal. This mammal would be a generalist. It may evolve to become a partial scavenger, using its elongated, maggot-like head to burrow into carcasses. To defend themselves, they may evolve venomous claws to slash at predators. They also use this to incapacitate prey. This may lead to them producing different venoms on each side of the body, with one side being a deadly hunting venom, and the other being a painful protective venom. They may evolve to become ambush predators, with thick hair to hide their body. They may also increase the length of the hunting limb, leading to unbalanced legs. This would not hinder them, as they have no need to move fast. This strategy would likely be quite successful, and so they may reach large sizes. Due requiring venom to hunt, they may evolve to gather food for their offspring before they can produce venom. This may lead to them evolving a large, edible crop like that of a dodo, from which they can throw up food for their young. These changes would more-or-less lead to a wild haggis


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