Squirrels: Responsible for 17% of Fiber Optic Network Damage

What’s the biggest threat to technology these days? Hackers? Anonymous? LulzSec? No. Not even close. How about squirrels? YOU BETCHA.

Alright, so maybe they’re not the biggest threat, per se, but they’re certainly not harmless. According to Level 3 Communications, which maintains an 84,000-mile fiber optic network, those bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rodents cause 17% of the damage done to their network.

Fred Lawler, a company vice president who is “passionate about fiber protection,” wrote about the issue of the “furry little nut eater” in a blog post for Level 3.

“Of all the animals in the whole world, almost all of our animal damage comes from this furry little nut eater. Squirrel chews account for a whopping 17% of our damages so far this year. But let me add that it is down from 28% just last year and it continues to decrease since we added cable guards to our plant,” he wrote.

He then joked, “Our guys in the field have given this some thought and they jokingly suspect the cable manufacturers of using peanut oil in the sheathing.”

In 2001, a repairman suggested that it was, in fact, grease used in the sheathing that causes squirrels, of all rodents, to go after the cables. Not peanut oil, most likely, but the grease in any case must be delicious to those little chompers.

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