TWO sperm whales have been spotted off Skye in a rare sighting which may be the result of climate change, according to a marine scientist.

The ocean giants were spotted by local resident, Catherine Atkins, at the mouth of the Camus Mor by Kilmuir.

While it is not unusual to see sperm whales in isolation around the Scottish coast, Dr Peter Evans of the Sea Watch Foundation, which logs sightings, believes the appearance by the pair may be due to warmer sea temperatures.

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He said: "In past decades, most records of sperm whales in British waters have been of lone adult males around Scotland mainly around the Northern Isles and the Hebrides. Increasingly, however, adolescent males have occurred in our waters, sometimes in groups of five to 10.

"Sightings of sperm whales have tended to occur mainly in summer so this sighting is notable not just for the time of year but for its inshore location. The species normally lives in waters of 1000 metres or more depth, beyond the continental shelf edge."

Last year a sperm whale spent a week in Oban Bay.