There was a very interesting article in the NY Times about how squirrels very frequently disrupt power lines and cause outages in many communities. We encourage you to read the full article. It’s an interesting look at how rodents and other pests have a real effect on our lives and towns.

Just as interesting as the article were the comments it inspired, among them:

  • A few years ago we had a months-long battle with Verizon over an erratic DSL line. They kept sending us new modems. The modems fizzled. At last, we persuaded them to send a live human being to our house, who quickly diagnosed our problem. “In this neighborhood, if it’s above ground it’s the squirrels; if it’s below ground it’s the rats.” In our case, it was the rats. Though I do often wonder what the squirrel/human ratio is in our neighborhood.
  • A few years ago our neighborhood was overrun by the bushy-tailed rats. A neighbor trapped and drowned two to three dozen of the little monsters each year for several years and our bird feeders are now much more safe from these predators. Some of us still keep bb-guns handy to shoo away the few who remain.
  • It’s not just squirrels. The facility I worked at was plagued by power outages, some near catastrophic, caused by snakes crawling through electrical equipment searching for pigeon and dove nests.

Look for more on related topics in the future, including how rodents cause data center outages.