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Squirrelled out: Electricians find cause of sudden blackout in France

A power outage in a small village in Dordogne had a rather unusual furry cause at the weekend

A photo of a red squirrel high up on an electricity wire pole, sitting on some coated wires

It is relatively rare that a squirrel climbing on an electricity pole would cause a blackout Pic: irishka5 / Shutterstock

Villagers in southwestern France whose electricity was cut for two hours were surprised to discover that the sudden outage had been caused by none other than a squirrel.

The 200-home village of La Bachellerie, near Condat-sur-Vézère in Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, experienced a complete power cut on Sunday, October 30, between 11:00 and 13:00.

Electricity management company Enedis said that after investigations, they discovered that the outage had been caused by a squirrel. The animal had climbed to the top of an electricity pole, and inadvertently caught two live wires. 

This short-circuited the network and caused the cut. Sadly, the squirrel died as a result.

The company said that the incident is rare, and that power cuts caused by animals are typically the result of birds on the line spreading their wings and accidentally touching the wires.

However, other animals do sometimes get caught. 

Earlier this year, the village of Krautergersheim in Bas-Rhin, Alsace, also suffered a power cut - this time because of a stork. The bird was building its nest when it dropped a branch on the electricity cables. A fire broke out and the power went down. 

Another small furry creature was the culprit in another case in June, in Canada. Several villages were without power and Internet for eight hours after a beaver damaged lines.

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