Problem: The Squirrels!

Problem: The Squirrels! January 18, 2016

Christopher Ingraham:

I come across an awful lot of strange data in my line of work. Toilets.GoatsUgly counties. But today, I stumbled upon what may be the finest dataset in existence: a comprehensive database of incidents where squirrels and other critters have knocked out part of the power grid.

The slightly tongue-in-cheeck Cyber Squirrel 1 promises a list of “all unclassified Cyber Squirrel Operations that have been released to the public that we have been able to confirm. There are many more executed ops than displayed on this map however, those ops remain classified.” It lists incidents going back to 1987, although naturally recent years’ data is more complete.

The website lists 623 power disruptions caused by squirrels, 214 by birds, 53 by raccoons, one by a Hannah Montana balloon, and a handful of other incidents caused by everything from snakes to slugs. Each report is linked to a news story so you can go dig up the terrifying details yourself.

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