An extremely patient Scottish teacher has captured stunning images of the country’s only poisonous snake making an early wake-up from hibernation.
Beverley Thain, 58, snapped the adder just three feet away from where she was standing in the Cairngorms National Park.
And her meticulous approach has paid dividends with the pictures gaining praise from viewers across the north-east and further afield.
Though potentially deadly to humans, the snakes are extremely timid and Ms Thain, from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, revealed it was the first time she had seen one.
However, that didn’t stop her from taking some fantastic snaps as she responded to the impromptu situation.
An adder’s bite could prove fatal to a very young, ill or old person, but they pose a real risk to small pets. An adder is believed to have claimed the life of a three-and-a-half year old champion whippet, North, in Stirling last year.
Ms Thain said: “I have wanted to find and photograph adders for a long time now.
“They are poisonous, but it was quite relaxed. I was only about three feet from it and I had to change to a smaller lens to take the photo.”
Commenting on the photos on social media, viewers were amazed to see the snake out of hibernation so early.
Robert Sharp commented: “In March, that’s very early to see them.”
Sheila Harper added: “It seems early in the year to see them…but they are lovely pics.”
Others said they had never spotted one before, despite living in Scotland for decades or longer.
Graham Barrie wrote: “In all the 47 years of being Scottish, I’ve never seen one in real life.”
The stocky viper is protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
Adult adders can grow up to two feet in length and are usually found on rocky hillsides, woodland and moorland.