As I’ve mentioned, my favorite video game of all time right now is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the PC, Xbox360, and Playstation 3. Skyrim is an open-world role-playing fantasy game, which hits many of my favorite things about video games. One of my favorite things about the game is the vast amount of wildlife found roaming the open lands.
The Elder Scrolls series always aims to create living, breathing, believable worlds filled with lore and history, so they create expansive open worlds and fill these worlds with animals and creatures that make sense living there. There are fish in the waters, deer in the woods, and even dogs in the homes of the citizens. I love exploring the lands of Skyrim and seeing all of the wildlife just makes the world even better.
What’s even better about these animals and wildlife is that they can truly enhance the Skyrim experience. Not only do they offer enemies to fight, but they can also be hunted for food, skinned for leather or parts of their bodies, such as their claws and teeth, and be used in alchemy to brew potions and poisons. All of this realistic interaction really helps make Skyrim an enjoyable experience full of life and realism.
There are several fish in the land of Skyrim. Many are small and look exactly alike, besides their coloring and are very common. These fish can be found in lakes and rivers and cannot be eaten. They can, however, be used in alchemical potions and poisons. Silverside Perches are obviously silver. River Bettys are a light purple-pink color, while Cyrodilic Spadetails are more of a rich pink-red color. Despite their names, River Bettys are not more common in rivers than any other body of water and Cyrodilic Spadetails cannot be found in the land of Cyrodil, but can only be found in Skyrim. River Bettys are very poisonous and make great ingredients for deadly poisons. Histcarps are a bright yellow-orange color, and, lastly, Abecan Longfish are a soft blue color, matching the waters they swim in.
Salmon are the only fish found in Skyrim that cannot be used in alchemy in any way. It can be cooked and eaten, but cannot be brewed and mixed into potions or poisons. Salmon are common, grey fish found in large bodies of water in Skyrim. They are often found jumping out of the water to ascend waterfalls and rapids, the only fish to be found doing this, and are also the only fish that can be found at deep depths.
The pinkish-orange flesh of salmon is a popular food source and can be eaten raw, salted, or cooked into a salmon steak. Salmon meat is also commonly sold in the marketplaces and at food stands across the region in both raw and cooked form. Solitude has a very successful salmon business because of its close proximity to the ocean and the docks nearby.
Slauhterfish are the only carnivorous and aggressive fish in Skyrim. They can be deadly with their rows or razor sharp teeth. Like piranha, they feed on flesh and are quick to attack. They are commonly found in waters surrounding Tamriel and can be frustrating to encounter because they cannot be attacked when underwater. These fish can make swimming in the deeps of Skyrim very dangerous. They should be avoided or dealt with cautiously.
Although Slaughterfish are aggressive and deadly enemies, their scales and eggs are prized for their alchemical properties as they can be brewed into potions and poisons. Though they may be the strongest fish, they are not the top of the aquatic food chain as mudcrabs enjoy killing and eating these fish.
The Mudcrab, (sometimes spelled Mud Crab,) is a small, hard-shelled creature found throughout all shores of Skyrim, including coastal shores, lake shores, and sometimes riverbanks. They are not typically aggressive unless cornered or provoked, but will not hesitate to attack when they feel threatened. Mudcrabs live in small groups, often of 2-4 members, and will gang up on any enemies that enter their territory. If they ever get the taste of meat, they become lifelong hunters.
Mudcrabs can vary greatly in size and color. Often camouflaged with their environment, they are usually various shades of grey, blue, and dull green to look like rocks or pebbles. In order to best utilize their camouflage, mudcrabs will often burrow into the ground only allowing the top of their jagged shell to show, disguising itself as a rock.
The horker is an amphibious creature with three tusks surrounding its mouth, two long flippers, and a strong tail. They are native to Solstheim and Skyrm and can be found all along the northern and eastern coasts of Skyrim.
Horkers are actively hunted for their horns and meat. Their meat can be salted and cooked in order to improve the flavor and the healing properties.
Although horkers are usually passive, they will attack when provoked or during mating season. Lake Fjalding is the mating grounds for the horkers of Solstheim. Horkers are extremely slow and can easily be avoided or defeated in combat.
Hawks are birds often found flying overhead in Skyrim. They nest in pine trees and prefer living in more urban areas, especially around the Solitude area. Hawks are often killed for their beaks and feathers which can be used as alchemy ingredients. They are territorial animals which never venture far from their nests. Though predatory, they only hunt smaller birds and vermin.
Bone hawks are a rare type of hawk only found circling the island that Castle Volkihar rests upon. These undead birds match the death hounds and vampires that reside within the castle. With a body similar to a regular hawk, these hawks have dark, black feathers and bare an exposed skull, hence the name.
Pheasants are wildfowl that are not native to Skyrim as they cannot be found in the wild. They are hunted for their meat, which is then salted and roasted. Dead pheasants can often be found hanging from the ceilings of inns and can be harvested for pheasant breast.
Chickens are domesticated animals often found on farms or in small towns in Skyrim. They are often allowed to freely roam, though they usually have a small hen house in which they can roost and nest. Hen houses can hold one, two, or three nests. Every few days a chicken will lie an egg which can be collected and used in alchemy to create potions and poisons.
Chickens can also provide chicken breasts which can be salted, cooked, and eaten. Chicken meat must be bought from inns or food stalls, though, as farmers do not appreciate their chickens being killed for any reason. They don’t mind their chickens’ eggs being taken, however, so one can stop by the chicken coops every few days or so to get a few free eggs.
Cows are another domesticated animal of Skyrim, only found on farms or in towns. These large, docile animals resemble oxen or yaks and bare long, shaggy fur in order to protect them from the colds of Skyrim.
Cows are raised for their meat, which can be salted and cooked and for their milk, which can be drinked. Again, farmers do not appreciate the slaughter of their animals by others, so beef must be bought from an inn or at a marketplace where food or meat stalls are located. Whiterun, Markarth, and Windhelm have stalls that specialize in the sale of meat and may carry beef from time to time.
Sometimes in the wilds, giants can be found walking with cows. Many villagers will offer cows painted with tribal blue markings to the giants as a kind of peace offering. These giants will take these painted cows back to their camps and feast upon them.
Cows are semi-loyal as they can be found following farmers travelling the roads without any kind of leash or roping. If these cows are given to giants, they will also follow the giants among the roads without any kind of lead.
Horses are vital in Skyrim for transportation purposes. These quadrupedal domesticated animals have been domesticated and trained to be used as mounts and to pull carriages. Most major cities have stables located right outside the city walls that offer horses for sale. These horses are offered for 1,000 Gold and will come saddled and ready to ride. Also just outside the city walls of major cities are carriages being led by a carriage driver and pulled by a horse. These carriages offer a travel service between the major cities for a small fee.
All the horses in Skyrim are daft horses resemebling a Clydesdale or Shire horse. These horses are hardy and strong and make up for in endurance what they lack in speed. They can handle the harsh terrain with ease and can be commanded to jump and rear on command. Horses come in a wide variety of coat colors in Skyrim including black, bay, paint, palomino, and dapple gray. Each stable specializes in just one color of horse and all carriages in Skyrim use bay horses.
Horses can be loyal creatures once purchased. After purchasing a horse, a horse will follow you wherever you may travel, offering you a ride at any time. If you travel by foot, however, and leave your horse behind, he will follow you, but will take a long time to catch up to you, not moving until long after you leave. Horses not only offer rides, but offer also their combat skills. Although horses are generally weak and have low amounts of health, they will fight when enemies are around. Only the last horse you interacted with will follow you, so though you may own five horses, only the last one you rode will accompany you.
One horses are owned, they are loyal for life. If a horse is stolen, he will remain loyal to his original owner and not the thief who stole him. Although he will not deny a ride to the theif, as soon as the new owner dismounts, the horse will immediately begin walking back to where he was originally stolen from. This horse will never be loyal to a new person.
Another use of the horse could be food, though it is considered to be in bad taste to eat horse meat. Horse meat can be cooked and salted to improve the flavor and healing properties of the meat.
Goats are passive, peaceful creatures in Skyrim that can be wild or domesticated. Goats are commonly found on roaming village farms and can also be found climbing about on mountain slopes. Both ewes and rams can be found. Goats are not aggressive and will only run when found in the wild. They can, however, be commanded by spriggans, the spirits of the forest, to fight for them. If commanded by a spriggan, a goat will glow with bright green light and attack anyone nearby in order to protect the forest spirit from harm. On farms, goats are slow, lazy creatures that meander about the land, often getting out of their pens and roaming the roads.
Goats are raised and hunted for several things, including their meat, their hides, and their horns. Goat legs can be salted and cooked to increase the flavor and enhance the healing properties of the meat. They are commonly sold in marketplaces where meat stalls are located. Goat hides are small and can only be turned into leather in pairs of two. After being turned into leather, they can be used to create or improve many weapons and armor. Goat horns are commonly used to create chandeliers and sconces within Skyrim.
As always, farmers do not like their goats to be harmed, making any person who harms a domestic goat earn a bounty within the Hold.
Mammoths are large wooly beasts that can be found within the vast tundra regions within the central region of Skyrim. Mammoths are generally wild beasts, but can be domesticated by giants. They are often found being herded by giants as they travel across the plains or found huddled around the large campfires that make up giant camps. Domesticated mammoths bare tribal markings upon their tusks that giants use to claim their herds. Wild mammoths will not bare these carvings and will have smooth, bare tusks.
Whether a mammoth is domesticated or wild, they are generally non-hostile unless provoked. Mammoths like their personal space and will usually start to command their area if anyone draws near. They will stomp their feet and wave their trunk about. If the threat continues to draw nearer, the mammoth will become hostile and will chase down their enemy and attack. Because of their large size, mammoths have a great amount of stamina and can be difficult to bring down. They also have strong trunks that can deal great amounts of damage. An easy way to avoid an attacking mammoth is to cross a river as mammoths do not like water and will not cross.
Mammoths are often victims of poaching as they are prized for their meat and tusks. Mammoth trunks can be salted, cooked, and eaten into mammoth steaks that are much more nutritional than other foods and meats found in Skyrim. Giants are extremely protective of their mammoths, though, and will attack anyone who draws to close to their herds or begins attacking them. Mammoth meat can sometimes be bought at a meat stall in the marketplace. Mammoths also produce cheese which can be eaten to repair one’s health and stamina. Mammoth cheese can be found harvested and resting in satchels within giant camps. Giants do not mind if their mammoth cheese is taken, as long as their mammoths are not harmed. Mammoths can also provide alchemical ingredients as their tusks can be ground into a powdered mammoth tusk concoction. Only the giants know how to grind the incredibly hard tusks down into powder, so this ingredient is very rare.
There are two different herbivorous ungulates in Skyrim, elk and deer. Elk are larger and darker colored while deer resemble caribou or reindeer with their beige-colored fur and horizontal antlers. These animals are most commonly found dashing through the forests or roaming the open tundras. They are extremely skittish and will quickly flee upon any potential danger. Because of their quick speeds, they can be difficult to catch.
Hunters commonly hunt deer for their antlers, hides, and meat. In many buildings across Skyrim, it is common to find taxidermy deer mounted upon plaques and used to decorate walls, such as over a fireplace or underneath a high window. Deer meat can be salted, cooked, and eaten. It is a common meat to acquire as one can hunt down their own deer or find their meat being sold within the marketplaces at meat stalls or even in inns sometimes. Deer hides supply a lot of leather with their large amounts of skin. Deer also supply antlers. Male deer and elk supply large, impressive antlers, while female elk supply small antlers. These antlers can be used in alchemy to create potions and poisons.
Rabbits are the smallest and weakest creatures to be found in Skyrim. These non-hostile creatures are often found being hunted by foxes or other predators and can be seen dashing through the woods with incredible speed. Rabbits can be difficult to catch because of their speed and their small size, their only defenses against hunters.
Rabbits supply rabbit legs which can be salted, cooked, and eaten, though they do not supply a substantial amount of nutrition. Rabbits are among the only mammal in Skyrim, besides mammoths, that does not supply skin and fur that can be tanned and turned into leather. Other than their meat, rabbits offer little value to an adventurer.
A rabbit can become a non-traditional pet if a child brings one home and asks to keep it.
Skeevers are the only rodents to be found in Skryim. They resemble large, overgrown, mangy rats that look sickly and diseased because of their off-putting colors, patches of missing fur, and crazy bent-up whiskers. They are very unclean animals and can transfer diseases through their viscous bites, such as Ataxia. Skeevers reside in underground habitats like caves or tombs and are almost never found above ground or out in the open. They prefer cold, dark, shrouded areas.
Skeevers are aggressive creatures and will attack anything on sight. They often attack in packs, allowing their small size and constant aggression to multiply in numbers. They are generally weak and easy to kill, but can be harder to take on when outnumbered.
Giants enjoy charring skeevers and feasting upon their hides and usually have several skeevers staked around their campfire. Sometimes bandits can be found eating charred skeever hides, as well. Skeevers not only supply food, but can also supply alchemical ingredients. Skeever tails are commonly used in potions and poisons.
Dogs are a common domestic animal found in Skyrim that can be friendly or hostile depending on their owner and territory. Bandits will often train their dogs to protect their camps and attack intruders on sight. Dogs are extremely loyal and can be made followers, following an adventurer across the land and helping to fight in battle. Dogs will attack by lunging and biting with their sharp teeth.
Dogs can be trained war dogs, stray animals found out in the wilds of Skyrim, or even household pets. If an adventurer brings a dog home to a house occupied by a child, the child may ask to keep the dog as a pet. Dogs will stay by their owner’s sides, even after death.
There are two types of dogs found in Skyrim, regular dogs and huskies. The regular dogs in Skyrim resemble Irish Wolfhounds with their long, scruffy grey fur and tall, lean build. The huskies in Skyrim are stronger than regular dogs and have a higher defense because of the special armor forged for them to wear. Huskies are used in the Dawnguard resistance or by members of the Vigil of Stendarr, trained to fight and kill vampires or daedric beasts.
Foxes are the smallest canines found in Skyrim. They are usually found within wooded forest areas or high in the snowy regions. They are non-aggressive creatures that are constantly seen darting away from danger. They can be difficult to catch because of their small size and fast speeds. They commonly chase and hunt rabbits and are usually hunted by wolves, bears, and sabre cats.
There are two kinds of foxes in Skyrim, the regular fox that resembles a red fox with it’s bright orange coat, and the snow fox that resembles an arctic fox. The snow fox is found at higher altitudes in snowy areas and bears smaller ears and a shorter snout.
Both foxes supply hides, matching the color of the fox. These hides can be tanned and leathered to create or improve armor and weapons. Foxes are commonly hunted for their skins.
Both kinds of foxes can become a non-traditional pet if a child brings one home and asks to keep it.
There are three kinds of wolves found in Skyrim. Like bears and sabre cats, the white wolf is the stronger of the three armed with a greater amount of health and able to deal more powerful attacks. These white wolves are known as ice wolves and are only found in colder regions of Skyrim where snow falls. The black wolves are the smallest of the three and are pretty weak, easy to kill in combat while the ice wolves are much more formidable foes.
Wolves are the wild ancestors of the domestic dog. They are hostile towards invaders and can be protective of their dens. Wolves are usually found in forested areas where they can hide and often roam in packs, taking down their enemies with their multiplied power. Wolves enjoy hunting rabbits and foxes.
Bears are powerful carnivorous animals found within Skyrim, usually within the Southern and Eastern wooded forests and snowy areas of Skyrim. These animals can bite with powerful jaws and slash with formidable front paws armed with claws. They are often found sleeping and resting and can be avoided if treaded around lightly, but if they see anyone they will immediately begin attacking. Bears can carry a disease called Bone Break Fever.
There are three kinds of bears found in Skyrim. Regular bears are the weakest kind of bears and resemble the North American black bear. Cave bears are brown and resemble grizzly bears. These bears are slightly stronger than the black bears, but are not the strongest. The strongest of the bears are the white bears known as Snow Bears. These bears are similar to polar bears as they are only found in the higher elevations of the snowy regions. They are much stronger and are much more difficult to take down in combat. These bears are resistant to the cold of Skyrim.
Bears impact the mill business within Skyrim as they drag their claws across trees to mark their territory, ruining the wood. They also impact the fur trade as they supply hides and fur. Their hides are large and can be tanned into several pieces of leather. Bears also help alchemy as their claws can be used in potions and poisons.
Sabre cats are large, hostile cats with sizable teeth found all across the lands of Skyrim, usually within the tundras. They are very dangerous and will attack wildlife and people without hesitation. They can often be found resting and napping if not chasing wolves and foxes. If bitten by a sabre cat, one can contract the disease, Witbane.
Khajiit legend states that the Sabre Cats were once the Rhojiit, Khajiit warriors who fought for Alkosh at the Battle of Red Mountain. Some khajiit are quadrapedal and resemble sabre cats.
There are two types of sabre cat, the regular tan-colored sabre cat found in the vast, open areas of Skyrim, and the white-furred snowy sabre-cat that is much stronger and harder to take down that is found in the snowy regions. Like bears, the brown sabre cats are smaller and weaker while the white sabre cats are stronger and more powerful. Snowy sabre cats resemble snow leopards as they have gray spots and stripes upon their pelts.
Sabre cat pelts can be tanned and leathered to help construct and improve armor and weapons. Their teeth can be used in alchemy to create potions and poisons.