LR pixel   "
top of page

5 unsuspecting animals that can cause a short-circuit

The image of a bird causing a short-circuit is familiar for many, specially for electrical engineers and maintenance and operations managers from the high voltage industry.

But there are many other animals that can cause a high voltage grid to shut-down. Some look totally defenceless and some you wonder how they were even able to climb that high. The effects of animal bridging ranges from trips of the electrical system to power interruption for long periods of time.

Here are 5 of the best examples:

1- Squirrels

Credit: Pexels

Squirrels can easily jump, run and travel along overhead conductors and enter substations. It’s clear how they can cause power interruptions, but what’s really impressive is the amount of times they do. According to the site CyberSquirrel1, a site that catalogs incidents of squirrel-caused outages, there have been more than 1200 in the US only.

2- Iguanas

Credit: Pexels

These exotic dinosaur-like creatures are typical in Central America and the Caribbean, but they are also found in some South American countries and even in the US, where they have become almost a plague in places like South Florida. Iguanas can create power outages, for example, when they make contact with two phases of a transformer. You can read about it here.

3- Monkeys

Credit: Pexels

This year, a group of monkeys caused a major blackout in 300 villages in the region of Katigorah in India. The incident occurred when a troop of monkeys entered a substation and came into contact with a 33kV high-voltage wire. Three of the monkeys died on the spot, and the equipment was severely affected.

4- Snakes

Credit: Pexels

Snakes are attracted to substations because there they can catch birds and eggs to eat. Because of their size and climbing ability, they are able to reach almost every part of the substation and, when not protected, they can cause power-outages. Recently, snakes were responsible of causing four outages in just eight days in the state of Tennessee in the United States of America.

5- Racoons

Credit: Pexels

Their curious nature and excellent climbing abilities gain raccoons easy access to substations. Because of their large size, raccoons can easily bridge phase-to-phase and phase-to-ground distances on equipment with voltage ratings up to 25 kV. Earlier this year, a raccoon made contact with the electricity equipment from a Toronto substation and cut power for thousands, knocking out traffic lights in Canada's largest city and trapping some people in elevators.

Outages, endangerment of life species, equipment damage and thousands of dollars in repair costs and production loss can be avoided when installing the proper wildlife outage protection products. Midsun’s E/Products are able to protect the equipment, power lines and animals by covering the bare metal work and creating an environment for wildlife to roam substations and overhead lines without damaging themselves or the equipment.

Picture: Joszef Salai / Hungary /EProducts installation
Installation of Midsun's E/Products

The investment in silicone covers is microscopic next to the amount a utility spends on a substation. Just bear in mind that a single electrical transformer can cost anywhere between 80 thousand and 5 million US$ and a high quality animal protection cover costs between 50 and 100 US$ and it’s life-span is expected to be the same as the one of the transformer.


bottom of page