Last month I had a post, riffing on a Gardenrant post by Michele Owen, about all the help I get in my yard with planting by my various backyard helpers. Michele’s post was called “The Assistants,” and specifically deal with the help squirrels had been in “planting” her garden. Here is that post for those of you who missed it.
Lately I’ve seen a couple of different articles in different places (one of which was of course the New York Times which seems to have a city-phobic fear of all things natural!) about power failures caused by–of all things–squirrels!
The piece in the Times actually ran in the Sunday Opinion section (technically called “Sunday Review”, I think).
A less comprehensive Google article on the same thing shows a list of squirrel related power failures in May and June 2013. I’m not sure if the outages peaked in those months or if the article was self-limiting for some reason.
Interestingly enough, the New York Times article has been picked up and cited all around the Internet. Fear of squirrel caused power outages is very real. But then again, none of us enjoys being in the dark, either literally or figuratively, no matter what the cause!
Closer to home, just two weeks before the “snowmageddon” of 2011 that caused power outages of a week or more in many parts of Connecticut, Greenwich (CT) Patch had a story about a “massive” outage sparked by a squirrel that left over half the town without power.
What’s more interesting is that squirrels have even wreaked economic damage. As this article from Money shows, squirrel-caused power failures have actually halted trading on the NASDAQ twice.
As we get into autumn and squirrels become more visible (at least in my part of the country) I’ve always thought about them in two ways: one, as a bit of a nuisance, since it seems they’re always in the road, running their predator avoidance pattern that seems more like a kamikaze death dance; and two, as a harbinger of winter weather as I search out their nests in the trees and try to determine, from the heights, how severe the winter will be.
But I have to say, when it comes to worrying about squirrel caused power failures, that’s one thing I’ll leave to the utilities.