Area of zoo
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Least Concern
Scientific name
Ovis aries

About our Soay sheep

We have two Soay sheep here at Whipsnade, a female named Boson and a male named Higgs. 

Soay sheep facts

  • Soay sheep shed their wool naturally so they don't need to be sheared. 
  • The word Soay is the Old Norse word for ‘sheep island’, it’s believed that this breed of sheep has been living on the island of Soay since Viking times! 
  • There is a feral herd of Soay sheep on the uninhabited Scottish island of Hirta. Humans moved off of the island in 1930 but in 1932 a group of 107 Soay sheep were transported to the island. They are now a herd of around 1500 sheep and roam the island freely. 
Soay sheep
Soay sheep at Whipsnade zoo

What do Soay sheep look like?

Soay sheep fleece comes in a variety of shades of brown, ranging from light tan to a dark chocolate brown. They are mainly brown with lighter patches of fur and wool under their chin, around their eyes, on their tummy and rump. Both males and females can have horns which are usually spiral shaped, or be hornless (polled).

What do Soay sheep eat?

Soay sheep are resourceful grazers and spend their days munching on the grasses, herbs, seaweed, and other plants that grow on the islands they inhabit.

Where are Soay sheep from?

Soay sheep are originally from the Scottish Island of Soay in the Outer Hebrides.

Visit the Hullabazoo Farm

Make new farmyard friends at our petting zoo, which includes miniature donkeys, pygmy goats, and alpacas.