A June 7 outage in Canada's British Columbia has been blamed on a beaver.
The large rodent gnawed through an aspen tree, causing it to fall on both BC Hydro lines and a Telus fiber optic cable line in between Topley and Houston. The tree then caught fire, but was put out by the Topley Volunteer Fire Department.
Only 21 customers were caught up in the power outage, but the Internet outage impacted Telus customers in Burns Lake, Granisle, Haida Gwaii, the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Thornhill, Houston, Topley, Telkwa, Fraser Lake, and Vanderhoof.
The communities are only served by a single fiber cable, but telco CityWest is currently laying a second fiber optics line down the coast to connect to Vancouver.
BC Hydro official Bob Gammer told CTV News that beavers occasionally cause outages in Canada, but it is not a regular occurrence. “It's unusual, but it does happen every once in a while,” Gammer said. “So I wouldn't be a rich man if I had a nickel for every beaver outage, but they do happen.”
A beaver caused a Telus outage last year in what the company described as a "very bizarre and uniquely Canadian turn of events." The animal used the fiber cable for its dam, burrowing three feet into frozen ground to get at the cable.
Hundreds of power cuts are attributable to squirrels, snakes, and other critters that accidentally short-circuit equipment - but the result is usually worse for them than it is for the grid.
Google once discovered that it was suffering from frequent short outages on a multi-terabit fiber path through Oregon, and traced it back to cows that liked to step on the cable. The company also had to reinforce thousands of miles of submarine cables after discovering that sharks liked to attack them.