June 26, 2008 A new tunnel designed by multi-disciplinary consultancy firm Scott Wilson will allow reptiles to pass under the road at a UK airport to ensure their safety. The tunnel was created with the reptiles’ biology in mind, providing a warm and inviting space to enter using LED lighting and heating coils.

Wildlife tunnels are not a new idea, however they are usually made with mammals in mind and are generally dark and subject to flooding. The Scott Wilson creation for cold-blooded creatures had to be designed differently because their internal body temperature reflects the external temperature of their surroundings. Being poikilothermic, reptiles require warmth to remain active and would be discouraged from using a traditional wildlife tunnel. This new tunnel design is therefore heated and lit during seasons when reptiles are active, and incorporates energy efficient materials such as LED lighting and small heating coils.

The tunnel forms part of a new access route for vehicles to Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster, UK. The new airport route, which avoids residential areas as well as cycle and pedestrian access, crosses a corridor which provides habitats for important plants and animals. The tunnel will provide a safe and warm thoroughfare for the region’s common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) and grass snake (Natrix natrix).

Images courtesy of Scott Wilson.

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