Emma Lawlor, Herptile Technician at Sparsholt College’s Animal Management Centre has created a buzz in the animal photography world, winning a ‘highly commended’ position in the British and Irish Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums’ (BIAZA) annual photography competition!

The close-up shot captured some of Sparsholt’s Giant Katydids hatching from their eggs. Appropriately named ’Even giants start small’ the insects are pictured at only a few millimetres long, but as they continue to grow will reach up to 7cm. Upon birth, they display blue and yellow with stripes, but will turn a bright green when maturing in order to camouflage amongst the foliage and leaves they eat.

The competition was open to all BIAZA collections in the UK and Ireland, and the four categories each awarded a winner, runner-up, and highly commended position. Emma entered her photo in the ‘Behind the Scenes’ category, displaying a unique insight into the work that keepers and technicians put into their collections.

Emma is delighted with the result, saying “To have won a place on my first time entering is so exciting, especially with a photo of an insect which many people tend to overlook in favour for more charismatic mammals and birds!”

“The process of hatching is quite quick, and usually happens in the early hours of the morning, so it is an honour to have been able to capture the beginning stage of new life!”

Sparsholt College, home of the National Zoo Academy, holds 1200 animals across 200 different species, and was the first college in the country to gain a BIAZA licence. A £2 million investment in animal and zoo facilities has been granted to Sparsholt College, and work is underway on the brand new Animal Health and Welfare Research Centre.

There’s still time to apply! Find out more about our Animal Management courses here.