Moray school pupils have got up close to a menagerie of creepy crawlies as part of a celebration of science.
Snakes, cockroaches and giant spiders were showcased to a captive audience from Greenwards Primary School at Moray College UHI yesterday.
Youngsters initially recoiled at the sight of the creatures which were rescued from abusive owners by the Scottish Exotic Animal Rescue, which is based in Croy near Inverness Airport.
But by the end of the display a group of brave pupils had Sam, a Burmese python nearly 10ft long, coiled around their shoulders.
Nick Martin from New Zealand, who gave the presentation, explained it was important to teach children about their place in nature.
He said: “Some of the best talks I give are to nurseries, at that age they are still learning about the world through touch and texture.
“By the time they get to primary school they have started to feel a bit more fear about the unknown and retreat back into themselves a bit.
“I don’t want children to have these animals as pets, I’d rather see them out in the wild, but it’s important they connect with nature and know they have a role in it all.”
The display was organised as part of Moray College UHI’s first Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) celebration week.
This week pupils from across the region, as well as students from the university, are taking part in events to expose them to different career choices.
Today (TUES) staff at the WDC whale and dolphin centre at Spey Bay are delivering a session about sampling marine animal data.
Later in the week staff will work with Rolls Royce and RAF Lossiemouth to learn skills to be able to run classes for youngsters about building cars.
Sam Bright, who is coordinating the Stem celebration week, said: “We really want to let kids and teachers know that everything they do involves Stem subjects, it’s not all just engineering and maths.
“Some of the things are what you would more traditionally associate with it, but exotic animals certainly isn’t one of them.”