September 27, 2023

A Single Beaver Caused Internet Outages in Canada

Photo of a Beaver

Internet outages are common, especially in rural areas where it can take a while for internet service providers to find the source of a problem. That just happened earlier this month in Canada, where a beaver was responsible for a long-lasting internet outage.

Internet access in some of British Columbia, Canada was unexpectedly shut down on June 7, lasting for “more than eight hours,” according to CTV News. NetBlocks, which tracks network disruptions and shutdowns worldwide, also identified a drop in internet access in BC during that time.

Graph showing drop in network connectivity in Canada on June 7
Internet connectivity in Canada on June 7, 2022

The cause of the incident was later identified as a beaver — yes, a beaver. The affected fiber optic line was strung along poles owned by the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, and when BC Hydro crews investigated the outage, they found beaver chew marks at the bottom of a tree that fell down on the lines. BC Hydro’s Bob Gammer told CTV News, “I wouldn’t be a rich man if I had a nickel for every beaver outage, but they do happen.”

Most internet outages don’t have quite as funny of a cause as a semiaquatic mammal, but similar incidents are fairly common. The site ‘Cyber Squirrel 1’ tracks network outages reportedly caused by animals, including 1,252 from squirrels and 115 from raccoons, though it hasn’t been updated since 2019.

Source: CTV News, NetBlocks

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