On Monday 22 May 2017, the Nature and Forest Agency of the Walloon Region, Infrabel and the Domain of the Caves of Han organised a press visit in the Domain concerning a protection program for the smooth snake.
TUC RAIL and Infrabel have been working on the modernisation of Axis 3 on Line 162 (Namur – Luxembourg) for several years. It is in 2016, when making the necessary contacts to carry out the work on the section between Lavaux and Habay that the teams first heard of the existence of this protected species. The smooth snake is very fond of the railway environment and more particularly the concrete gutters in which electric cables are placed. There it is protected from predators and enjoys a comfortable temperature due to the heat generated by the cables.
TUC RAIL and Infrabel have contributed to a protection program for the species by financing the creation of 10 enclosures totalling 250 m² in the heart of the Domain of the Caves of Han. The next step is to capture adult specimens (from May 2017 until spring 2018). The work between Lavaux and Habay will thus be carried out with the guarantee that the impact on these vulnerable species is greatly limited. The captured snakes will be released once work is completed. In 2016, TUC RAIL and Infrabel had already cooperated with the Nature and Forest Agency to protect a colony of sand lizards (click here to read the news item published on 13 July 2016).