Fearless students faced a Bush Tucker Trial at Edge Hill University during a “hands-on” lecture with a difference involving scorpions and Praying Mantis.

Edge Hill launched its first ever series of Christmas Lectures on Monday, 4 December, with The Bug Box, featuring Roger Swailes, aka The Bug Man, and his exotic animal friends.

His lively interactive session explored the lifecycles and movement of a variety of invertebrates including spiders, spectacular stick insects, giant snails, giant millipedes and Praying Mantis.

As a special highlight, Roger invited the more adventurous youngsters from Glenburn Sports College, Skelmersdale to touch the creatures and pick them out of the box to get a closer view.

Roger, who has bred many of the animals he exhibits, worked as a science teacher before leaving the profession to concentrate solely on his lecture tours.

His talks are in such demand that he has visited 130 schools this year alone in order to share his fascination for these tropical creatures.

Roger said: “I like to entertain the children with a lively, informative talk about exotic creatures in a fun environment. I give them the chance to handle some of the insects in a safe setting and to get them involved as much as possible.

“It’s an opportunity to get closer to animals they would normally only see behind a glass screen at a zoo. I give the talks to everyone ranging from nursery age to senior citizens and people find it fascinating. There is no risk involved as the particular species I bring along are not dangerous.”

Edge Hill?s season of Christmas Lectures also featured “Spot the Criminal,” in which Michael Cawley, tutor in Criminology, examined stereotypical views of crime and criminals, and “Life on the Edge,” in which Dr Nigel Richardson, Head of Department of Natural, Geographical and Applied Sciences, focused on how different cultures and climates can determine the way we live.

The Lectures were organised to celebrate Edge Hill achieving university status. They were designed to provide young students with a taste of university life at Edge Hill and inspire them to look ahead to higher education and beyond.