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Animals vs. the internet

Animals vs. the internet


Not so cute anymore, huh?

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The animals have fooled us. Here we are, thousands of years into existence, currently under the impression that animals are mostly very cute, furry things. Just look at this monkey petting a group of puppies. And while we're busy ooh-ing and aww-ing at the sheer heart-melting-ness of that YouTube video, that same monkey could be plotting to destroy our internet. Kind of.


This week, Reuters reported that India has been struggling to get internet to its provinces because monkeys have been gnawing on the fiber optic cables that line that Ganges River. It sounds like mayhem. Construction crews have had to replace the cables in the holy city of Varanasi just two months after installation, and moving the system underground is impossible because of the city's large population. But the macaque monkeys are admired and even viewed with reverence by the people who worship at the temples in Varanasi. Getting rid of them is not an option.

"The monkeys, they destroy all the wires and eat all the wires," communications engineer A.P. Srivastava told Reuters. And for now, it looks like it's going to stay that way.


It's not just limber tree-dwellers causing problems. Last summer, Google's product manager Dan Belcher mentioned at an event that all of the company's underwater fiber optic cables are protected by a Kevlar-like material. Why? Shark attacks.

In a recent report, the International Cable Protection Committee suggested that the sharks were attracted to "electro-magnetic fields from a suspended cable strumming in currents." Hey, if that's your thing.


In 2011, Level 3 Communications, which operates an 84,000-mile fiber network in the US, reported that squirrels were the cause of 17 percent of the damage done to its cables. This isn't surprising. Have you ever seen a squirrel not chewing on something?

This has been the first edition of Animals vs. the internet. Let's hope it's the last.