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Wildlife Interaction with Electric Utility Components

Human-wildlife interactions are inescapable, even in dense, urban areas. As our populations expand, animals must adapt, which sometimes causes expensive or dangerous damage to property. Power lines and utility components showcase a major conflict; they're crucial for maintaining our modern lifestyle but are attractive to wildlife like squirrels. Rather than turning to traps or poison that are inhumane and dangerous to pets and non-pest wildlife, physical barriers are extremely effective at blocking wildlife access to electrical components. Our Pole Guards and Line Guards act as deterrents and prevent costly damage.

squirrel on power line

What's the Draw?

While some animals prefer to avoid power lines due to the flashes of UV light they perceive, others seem to be drawn to them. A power line looks like a perfect perch to a flock of birds. To a squirrel, a utility pole serves as an easy access point to get to your roof or attic. Other pests like opossums and rats may take advantage of utility poles and power lines, just as they would use a natural structure in their environment. Humans may have built these utilities, but to many opportunistic animals, they're no different than the natural parts of their habitat. 

When Problems Arise

While a utility pole may look like a strangely uniform tree to a squirrel, it's not. The power lines, transformers, and other sensitive equipment can be damaged by wildlife once they climb atop. Squirrels are a common cause of widespread power outages in the US, often because a squirrel accidentally completes the circuit between a charged wire and a grounded object got stuck. Instead of falling to the ground, a stuck animal prevents the power grid from functioning normally, leading to blown circuit-breakers and loss of power to hundreds of homes.

Wildlife that finds its way onto your roof or into your attic can chew through vital electrical equipment, destroy personal items, and become uninvited tenants in your home. Squirrels, in particular, are infamous for their destructive chewing because their incisors never stop growing. They must wear down their teeth by constantly gnawing. Squirrels and other animals can also be attracted to nuts and seeds that have gotten caught in electrical equipment. 

Ecosystem Effects

For a homeowner or utility company, damage caused by wildlife is inconvenient and sometimes dangerous. For wildlife, navigating the man-made structures in their habitats is a matter of survival. The encroachment of human settlements on wild habitats is contributing to a startling loss of biodiversity. In general, the more biodiverse an ecosystem is, the more stable and resilient it is. Building utility poles and power lines causes ecosystem fragmentation and disrupts the movement of wildlife. Animals may avoid power lines because of the UV light they emit or because the open corridors leave them exposed to predators. 

Preventing wildlife from accessing utility poles and power lines may not eliminate large-scale effects of fragmentation, but it does protect your home and the animals that share outdoor space. Our products are durable additions to utility poles and power lines that humanely block animals from climbing onto sensitive equipment. For more information on how Critter Guard's products protect your home and equipment, contact us today.

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