INCREDIBLE images have emerged of a “very rare” snake sighting in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands.
The photos show a curled up Adder, which has only been spotted in the area a handful of times in the last 50 years.
The brown and green snake is seen coiled up on some stones, basking in the sunlight.
Students from Grantown Grammar School, near Aviemore, spotted the venomous snake while on a school trip with their mathematics teacher, Jim Sutherland.
Jim says he had never seen an Adder in his life until the discovery on Monday [15 Jun], despite countless school trips to the area.
Even local expert Stephen Corcoran, who records reptile and amphibian sightings, has never seen one in the area.
Stephen, a National Park authority Peakland Project officer, uploaded the pictures to Facebook saying: “A very rare sighting of an adder near Grantown.
“The snake, possibly a male, was seen this week on the Speyside Way between the Back of Anagach and Cromdale Bridge.
“There are no recent records of adders from this area.
“Adders are Scotland’s only venomous animal and are rarely aggressive – bites usually only happen when people try to pick them up.
“Adders are protected and it is illegal to kill or injure them.
“These elusive animals can be occasionally encountered in moorland, bogs, woodland clearing and sunny banks.
“They are most often seen in the spring after they emerge from hibernation and need to bask in the sun to warm up.”
The post has intrigued social media users.
Jeanette Hall wrote under the post: “Beautiful creatures, and very under-recorded in Scotland.
“I’ve never seen one in Speyside, although there are parts of Deeside where you can see them quite reliably.”
Jo Richards: Added: “Beautiful.I live in Kent in an area where adders are very common and often see them on my walks.
” They just bask quietly and are never a problem as long as you stick to the paths so you don’t tread on them”.”
Vee Racity wrote: “Stunning specimen.”
Speaking today, Stephen said: “There have been one or two sightings of an Adder in the last 50 years.
My father-in-law who farms that area has never seen one in his lifetime and he’s 75 years old. It’s quite exciting to have a new sighting for a very long time.
“There has been concern that the Adder is declining nationally or it was part of historic populations killings by people.
“Usually you don’t see them at this time of year as they are more alert and can sense the vibration of you coming so run away.
“The best time to see them is in Springtime as you catch them basking in the sun just warming up after winter”
Claire McGonigal, head teacher of Grantown Grammar School, said: “We have about 200 trips a year and it’s been running for the 10-15 years of our outdoor learning programme.
“And, no one has ever seen an Adder until Monday.”