20 Sep

Why Squirrels Pose Threat to Electric Grid

Why Squirrels Pose Threat to Electric Grid

The attack by hackers on Ukraine’s power grid brought into sharp focus the cybersecurity of power grids the world over. This is the only confirmed incident of hackers causing a blackout but squirrels have for a long time been responsible for power outages. In fact, experts agree that squirrels are far more dangerous in this regard than hackers.

Squirrels cause more trouble than other animals which threaten critical infrastructure. Squirrels have caused more blackouts than raccoons, snakes, birds and rats combined.

How Squirrels Threaten Electric Grid

One of the obvious ways squirrels threatens electric grid is by chewing on power lines. The rodent’s teeth continue to grow throughout its life and it chews on virtually any material to keep them from growing too long. A family of squirrels chewing on a power line can easily cause an outage.

Squirrels also occasionally sneak into power transformers causing short-circuit when they are electrocuted. Such a situation can interrupt power to multiple homes or buildings.

Scurrying across power lines is usually not a problem for the squirrel unless it manages to touch two parts of the electric network that are not supposed to connect. Living bodies conduct electricity and the animal in this scenario will get electrocuted and almost certainly blow a fuse or short-circuit.

Fortunately, most of these outages are localized and are fixed much quicker than major ones caused by storms. Utility companies are also taking measures to remedy the situation such as by insulating electrically charged equipment and lining poles with slippery materials.

How to Get Rid of Squirrels around Your Home

Squirrels aren’t just a menace on the electrical grid as they can break into houses to nest. This is especially the case during breeding season when the animals will be looking for a safe place to den. Attics, garages, under decks and in chimneys make a great residence for these critters if they can find a way inside.

Do not trap wildlife unless you are trained to do so safely. In fact, most professionals prefer humane exclusion to trapping. The trapped animal is vulnerable to harassment by pets, death from starvation and dehydration and is easy prey for predators. You may also orphan baby squirrels which die of starvation and dehydration without their mother’s care.

Hire a squirrel removal company in Toronto to evict the animals humanely. This involves installing a one-way door to allow the wildlife out but block their re-entry. The expert will inspect for baby squirrels and remove them by hand to be reunited with their mother. Finally, the service includes wildlife-proofing your home with galvanized steel mesh or metal flashing to prevent an invasion in the future. Ask for a warranty of at least two years for the service.

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