Squirrels Do 17% Of The Damage To Fiber Optic Networks

Turns out the common squirrel has an uncommon propensity for nibbling through the nation’s fiber optic cables. Level 3 Communications, which operates much of the cables that provide the internet’s backbone in the US, say that 17% of the damage to its network comes from squirrels chewing on the lines. No one is quite sure why they like fiber optic cable so much.

While the squirrels compromise 17% of the total damage, they do almost 100% of the animal damage to the company’s lines, blogs Fred Lawler, SVP of Global Field Services at Level 3. “Honestly, I don’t understand what the big attraction is or why they feel compelled to gnaw through cables,” he writes. “Our guys in the field have given this some thought and jokingly suspect the cable manufacturers of using peanut oil in the sheathing.”

Fred says the number of chewing incidents is down from 28% last year since they added cable guards to the plant.

So the next time your internet is down, maybe don’t shake your fist at your cable provider right away. First throw open the sash and see if there’s a little furry beast sitting on the line, gnawing on it like a corn on the cob, laughing his ass off.

The 10 Most Bizarre and Annoying Causes of Fiber Cuts [Beyond Bandwidth via The Atlantic]