A third of all American visitors to Scotland believe haggis is a real animal, a survey revealed yesterday.

Almost one in four (23%) of those questioned said they had come to Scotland under the belief they could hunt and catch the famous dish.

US tour operators are even promoting haggis-hunting tours, which have proved a big hit with Americans eager for

the ''authentic'' Scottish


About 1000 Americans took part in the survey, which was launched in the summer when Hall's, a haggis manufacturer, teamed up with a US tourism association website.

Hall's, which is based in Broxburn, West Lothian, asked Americans considering a trip to Scotland why they wanted to come and what they expected to see.

One American tourist believed that haggis was a wild beast of the Highlands, no bigger than a grouse, which only came out at night.

Another claimed haggis was a creature that sometimes ventured into the cities and was similar to a fox.

Anna Finlay, of Hall's, said: ''It's amazing in this day and age that the myth of the haggis roaming the glens continues to resonate with overseas visitors.''