A TV scientist who loves getting up close and personal with creepy crawlies has cleared his globetrotting schedule to take his expertise on tour to the county’s schools.

Dr Mike Leahy has appealed for schools in the county to get in touch if they would like a lecture during National Science and Engineering Week in March.

The 43-year-old, who grew up in Steventon and now lives in Shipton-under-Wychwood, gained worldwide exposure last year from his National Geographic television series Bite Me, in which he visited eight countries to encounter deadly bugs.

During filming, the former John Mason School pupil, who studied at both of Oxford’s universities, was admitted to hospital three times having contracted waterborne Weil’s Disease and suffering an anaphylactic reaction to being bitten by South American fire ants.

He said: “I’ve been stunned by the positive reaction to Bite Me.

“I’m not used to getting so many emails from exotic parts of the world.

“But for me what has been most encouraging has been the response from students, lecturers and teachers in the UK.

“I think parasites and venomous animals are naturally fascinating, but what is less well known are the potentially beneficial properties of both parasites and venomous creatures.

“It’s great to show these animals in a positive light and I think that it’s a powerful reason to conserve even the most seemingly antisocial organisms.

“Perhaps it’s this positive message that has made the show so popular.

“I have regularly been asked to speak or appear at schools in the past, but I plan to throw myself into National Science and Engineering Week. This year’s theme is very broad – Earth.

“My take on this is to give strong reasons for conserving wildlife that may sometimes have a very bad reputation.

“I also hope that I’ll be able to show how very diverse areas of the world face very different challenges from parasites, infectious diseases and venomous animals.”

He added: “I know what it feels like to go into an anaphylactic reaction following ant stings, or what a box jellyfish sting feels like.

“I am only too happy to share my experiences, if only to save students from nasty experiences.”

To invite Dr Leahy to speak at your school, email him via his website mikeleahy.tv