We Germans often consider the Scots to be a little quirky...
Therefore, it's really no big surprise that the unicorn is their national animal. Wait, WHAT?!
Exactly - a mythical creature as national animal! :-)
In general, the unicorn is considered a symbol of goodness and was also idolised in other cultures. Since its horn was said to have healing powers, narwhal tusks, which were believed to be the unicorn's horn, are still kept in the treasuries of various churches and noble houses today.
In Celtic mythology, the unicorn symbolised innocence and purity as well as strength and masculinity. Perhaps this is what made it the perfect Scottish national animal.
As early as the 12th century, William I used it in his royal coat of arms. In the 15th century, there were even gold coins stamped with it. When James VI united Scotland and England in 1603, one of the two unicorns on his shield were replaced by the English lion.
Since the wild and untamable unicorn was considered one of the strongest animals of all it was often depicted in chains. Probably, only a king could manage to tame such a powerful beast.
9 April is the official national Scottish unicorn day - yes, that really does exist! :-)
In Scotland, you can often find the noblest of all mythical animals in statues or paintings. It is also shown on many market crosses (or mercat crosses as they are called in Scotland).
My blurry photo above was taken on the premises of the University of Glasgow.