back to article What's up with IT, Doc? Rabbit hole reveals cause of outage

As the world gears up for a week that features a celebration of love, The Register brings you another instalment of On-Call, our weekly reader-contributed tale of the thing IT pros hate most – being asked to fix silly problems at loathsome times of day. This week's love letter to being on-call comes from a reader we'll again …

  1. regadpellagru


    ""Said bunny was located in its box, with burnt off whiskers and a sore nose, but otherwise unharmed,""

    Wow, just WOW ! I bet said rabbit had never ever since approached any type of wire by less than 10 m ever since !!!

    Being shot by 220 V right in the teeth is certainly anything I'd wish inflected onto anyone ! Gaah.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      Yup. That's one lucky bunny.

      Name wouldn't be Roger, by any chance ?

      1. Anonymous South African Coward

        Re: Ouch

        cue FX of rabbit getting shocked, showing skellington inside etc etc etc.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          Re: Ouch

          I bet it was pretty amped afterwards...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ouch

        Seen a pet rabbit take out EVERY cable behind a PC and survive.

        Was called out to a "not working PC" in a house where someone was house sitting. They had let the pet rabbit run around the front room. Only later did they realise all the cables were shot. Monitor, printer, power, internet... This one was lucky as it had not quite gone through the mains lead yet.

        1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: Ouch

          A neighbor's son took a rabbit along to college. His roommates made him take it home, because of its way of expelling a turd at each hop. Are British rabbits more trainable than America ones, or did the client just have a high tolerance for rabbit droppings?

          1. Roger Lipscombe

            Re: Ouch

            We once had a rabbit who was house-trained (as in: wouldn't poop inside the house). Silly bastard did chew through the phone line on at least one occasion, though.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: litter box trained rabbits

            I had heard of this. But as I heard it, it sounded more like the rabbit will usually have a preferred place to leave his wastes. So that's were you put the litter box.

            I assume you clean the spot up first. ;-)

          3. YetAnotherXyzzy Bronze badge

            Re: Ouch

            Rabbits are said to be house trainable, but what works in our household is to accept that they have chosen to do their business in corners X and Y and Z, and to put down litter boxes there. If you try to get them to change where they do their business, you will find that rabbits are just as stubborn as a newly hired CIO and have sharper teeth.

            1. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: Ouch

              My sisters living room had the bottom 5 inch of wallpaper missing, through the whole living room. Healthier than cables :-)

          4. Zarno

            Re: Ouch

            They can be taught to use a litter tray by placing errant droppings in the tray, and they get the hint pretty quickly.

            Move the tray, and they get confused, and go back to nature rules.

        2. Muscleguy

          Re: Ouch

          As a school science tech with the fixit bent I fix things for our companion primary. I have been presented with a succession of laptop power cables with the lead to the computer being frayed in the same place every time. Some to bare wires I have to individually wrap with insulation tape before the outer layer goes on.

          Next time I’m over taking stuff back curiosity will get the better of me. Does EVERYONE trap the power cord under their machines? Or are the kids over toothsome?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Ouch

            Classroom pets? Hamsters, gerbils etc are popular in primary schools.

      3. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Ouch

        Somebody hasn't read the book, I see. The movie is sunshine and rainbows compared to the dumpster fire in the book.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      Being shot by 220 V right in the teeth is certainly anything I'd wish inflected onto anyone

      Certainly not to a rabbit. Honestly though, I can think of one or two people to whom I would not wish this happening but if it did, I wouldn't feel terribly bad or sorry.

      1. FBee

        Re: Ouch

        I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure - Clarence Darrow NOT Mark Twain

    3. Catkin

      Re: Ouch

      Despite their best efforts to prevent repeat nibblings, I think a former neighbour's rabbit made it to 4 or 5 nibblings with current flow before it expired.

    4. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      Ouch, I mean, that stings quite a bit on the old fingers already....

      We have one of the local cats visiting our garden quite frequently. It is an extremely friendly cat. We have plastic chairs there, which unfortunately means nasty electrostatic charges accumulate as you sit. Said very friendly cat came to say hi, smell the hand, cuddle a bit. She came to step two, and got a shock right on the nose. Poor little thing! (she got over it).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ouch

        Cats have a terrible habit of digging a hole, crapping in a second place, and trying to cover it up in a third. Seeming to prefer my carefully prepared seed beds, or larger vegetable patch.

        I used to put netting over my seed beds, but on two occasions 4' Grass Snakes got caught in it. One was dead and the other was not in a good way, but slithered off after careful release.

        So I had to come up with something else.

        An electric stock wire 6" off the ground surrounding the plot did not help as the cats (yes, plural) were seen hopping over.

        I purchased electric sheep fencing and suspended it horizontally over the seed bed.

        Cat no. 1 jumped onto the wire and then jumped near 6' vertically on the next pulse and then jumped away.

        Cat no. 2 tried to squeeze underneath for some bizarre reason, but only got its head under before the shock.

        They both grabbed it in their mouths on the second night!

        It turned out to be very efficient against Pigeons as well.

        Anon as there will be cat slaves (the cats let them say owners) who think that protecting my own hard work against damage from a free roaming Tiddles is barbaric.

        I am not anti-cat - my daughter has a house cat. I am just anti them invading my garden and defiling it.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Ouch

          Our technique is to spread Mahonia Japonica leaves (spiky like holly leaves, but bigger) over the area we want to keep cats out of. Works well enough, and growing plants just push them out of the way when large enough.

          [Never thought I'd be posting gardening tips on El Reg.]

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: Ouch

            Mine tears through brambles line they aren't there. It's a shame I can't attach a sharp blade to each side, then she could do something useful as a side effect.

          2. Elongated Muskrat

            Re: Ouch

            I've just bought a roll of chicken wire to bury just under the surface of the compost in the plants in containers outside. It's not just cats here, but also foxes, which for some reason seem to like to bury rotten eggs like some sort of crazed alternative to the Easter Bunny.

            If you don't have chicken wire, short lengths of garden cane cut at an angle and stuck vertically into the soil discourage digging animals quite effectively.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Ouch

              Small garden, tried both methods on our plant pots. Didn't have any success, and after coming out the flat one morning to see a cat squatting on the pot, glaring at me because I disturbed him taking a dump, decided not to bother gardening

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ouch

          Pepper works well against cats, as long as there's no rain. Watching a cat sneezing its way back home, while trying to hold in whatever it was about to dump on my gravel path, was kinda funny.

        3. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: Ouch

          You didn't try sharks with lasers?

          1. psychopomp

            Re: Ouch

            You get SHARKS in your garden?

            1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

              Re: Ouch

              You get SHARKS in your garden?

              He could have a pond.

            2. Shooter

              Re: Ouch

              What - never heard of hydroponics?

            3. DropBear

              Re: Ouch

              You mean you DON'T have a moat around your garden...?

        4. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

          Re: Ouch


          I've never tried it personally, but apparently the cure is to go to the local zoo and get a bucket of lion (or tiger) dung and spread that around your garden.

          It pongs for a bit, but the smell is apparently enough to give all the neighbourhood cats a serious fright and they assume that Mr F Big Cat owns that territory and they avoid the place like no tomorrow.

          1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

            Re: Ouch

            So true...

            I use to live a short walk from Bristol Zoo when it was still at Clifton Downs.

            They sold their animal's "output", marketed as "Zoo Poo".

            Yes, the smell was quite strong for a while, but it was enough to keep the local felines (and urban foxes!) at bay.

            1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Re: Ouch

              Probably keeps the neighbours away as well!

          2. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

            Re: Ouch

            That reminds me of Farley Mowat's story of urinating around the edges of his wilderness camp, to keep the wolves away.

            (Not sure whether that's true; he was known for, shall we say, exaggeration. But it makes for a great story!)

            1. stiine Silver badge

              Re: Ouch

              The movie Never Cry Wolf....

              And now I read that it was based on his work... The best line in the move is:

              "27 cups of tea later, I completed

              a two-acre circle around my tent,

              including a 100-yard section

              of the wolf's path.

              What had taken me six hours

              and 27 cups of tea,

              he accomplished in just a few minutes.

              At each of the places that I'd marked,

              he made his mark on the opposite side,

              indicating that my boundary

              was acceptable to him.

              And thus he granted me the space

              for Lupus Base One."

          3. JohnnyS777

            Re: Ouch

            Another trick is to adopt a Bouvier (Belgian guard dog breed). A friend of the family had one, and all her neighbours were very grateful that no raccoon or any other animal would come anywhere near that block. The dog was very sweet and friendly, but one of his double-bass "woofs" would scare the crap out of any animal within a few hundred yards.

          4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Ouch

            the cure is to go to the local zoo and get a bucket of lion (or tiger) dung and spread that around your garden

            Only the boss cat of a particular area is allowed to poop in specific places. However, I severely doubt whether lion or tiger smells anything like silvestris domesticus so I'm sceptical that it would work..

            1. Killfalcon Silver badge

              Re: Ouch

              Doesn't need to - cats, as small predators, are generally keen to avoid big predators.

              Just like how cats in practice don't catch many rats - because rats prefer to avoid places that have cats on the prowl.

          5. Potty Professor

            Re: F Big Cat

            We used to have an F Big Cat, he was the runt of the litter but grew enormous. If there were any of the local moggies in our garden when Mickey sauntered around the corner of the house, they all suddenly remembered that they had pressing engagements elsewhere. He lived to be 16 years old, but kidney failure ended his reign. RIP Mickey :-(

      2. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

        Re: Ouch

        Petting a cat in winter-dry air, each stroke of its back builds up enough static to produce a tiny spark at the beginning of the next stroke -- two sparks, actually, since the tips of its ears act as little lightning rods.

        Mildly annoying for me; rather more so, I presume, for the cat. In such conditions, I try to bring my hand down slightly aft of the ears, to shock the critter in a hopefully less sensitive place.

        I've just now discovered that there's a "triboelectric series", which ranks various things by the charge they'll produce if you rub them together. Turns out that rabbit fur is a few places more strongly positive than cat fur. (Human hair is between them, but human hands are more positive even than rabbit fur. Of the several lists a quick web search turned up, none mentioned dog fur.)

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Ouch

        She came to step two, and got a shock right on the nose

        Happens regularly to ours (particularly the big ginger cat). He now won't come near me (especially in summer) until he's seen me touch something metal.

        Given how thick he is, I'm really surprised he learnt that trick!

    5. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      This actually happened to me, my housemate's rabbit chewed through the iron's cable the day before I had a job interview. I can't remember if it was live or not at the time (the wire, not the rabbit)

      How happy I was -->

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Ouch

        My shepherd dog once tasked herself with slicing a 20 meter 3-phase extension cord into much more handy 5-10 cm pieces... luckily it wasn't live (I mean the wiring, but the dog pretty much played dead when I found out)

    6. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      I was wiring a shop up for trading and found some old Ethernet cables in a wall conduit. They’d been nibbled through down to bare wires mostly where they reached the floor and the conduit continued under the floor. In places the wires were touching which was obviously why the old cables were showing errors on my tests. Anyway I checked and there were now bait stations under the floor so figured I could use the conduit. Getting further along the floor to where one of the tills was going to be I found what had obviously been a mouse at some stage but had died years before.

      Talking to the electrician who was also there, he said that was perfectly normal and I was lucky it wasn’t something larger. He’d been called to a warehouse premises where the power was out. On inspection of the cabling he’d found two dead rats which had been electrocuted. On checking the incoming supply fuses he found another one there in a similar condition He said that wasn’t a fun morning.

      1. Steve Aubrey

        Re: Ouch

        "old Ethernet cables" - man, are we living on internet time or what? So token-ring will be pre-history? Reminds me of:

        After having dug to a depth of 10 meters last year, French scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1,000 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors had a telephone network all those centuries ago.

        Not to be outdone by the French, English scientists dug to a depth of 20 meters and shortly after headlines in the U.K. newspapers read: "English archeologists have found traces of 2,000-year-old fiber-optic cable and have concluded that their ancestors had an advanced high-tech digital communications network a thousand years earlier than the French."

        One week later, Israeli newspapers reported the following: "After digging as deep as 50 meters in a Jerusalem marketplace, scientists had found absolutely nothing. They, therefore, concluded that 5,000 years ago Jews were already using wireless technology."

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Ouch

          ""old Ethernet cables" - man, are we living on internet time or what? So token-ring will be pre-history? Reminds me of:"

          On a more serious note, yes, "old" ethernet cables could mean co-ax. When did yo last see old 10BaseT Ethernet cabling? Or "thick" Ethernet cabling? Even the "standard" twisted pair stuff could be pretty old, even CAT5 is pretty much dead now, I think we're up to CAT8 for more specialist high end applications :-)

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Ouch

            "When did yo last see old 10BaseT Ethernet cabling? Or "thick" Ethernet cabling?"

            Today. Parts of the machine room/museum/mausoleum/morgue can't use anything else.

            Those who forget history ...

      2. PRR Bronze badge

        Re: Ouch

        > I found what had obviously been a mouse at some stage but had died years before. ... he said...I was lucky it wasn’t something larger. ...a warehouse premises .. he’d found two dead rats which had been electrocuted. On checking the incoming supply fuses he found another one there....

        I was called to the other building, computer out. On the way I hit a big stench, not IT so not my problem.

        Well all the computers all the printers and all the lights were out... get a clue!

        Went back out and the campus electricians arrived. Very gingerly opened a transformer housing. They obviously had a clue. PHWEW!! Most of an opossum curled around the high voltage terminal. Possums are 10 to 20 times as much meat as a rat, so the stench lingered.

    7. YetAnotherXyzzy Bronze badge

      Re: Ouch

      "I bet said rabbit had never ever since approached any type of wire by less than 10 m ever since !!!"

      I so hope you are right, but I fear you are not. We have a pet rabbit. Yes, that's not the wisest choice of pet for a WFH geek with plenty of kit lying around, but wisdom isn't one of my strengths. It's not the rabbit's strong point, either. He has chewed through eight (yes, I've counted, because guess who gets to replace them) mains power supply cables for my wife's laptop. As well as one extension cord that I thought was adequately protected. Generally we hear an audible pop, and if we're there to see it, a flash from a spark. The rabbit is eventually found quite alive but sulking, with singed whiskers. But he does like that spicy hay and he will chew it again.

      1. pirxhh

        Re: Ouch

        My GF at the time had a pet rabbit.

        After a lost cable, we tried rubbing its successor in Tabaso - no dice.Then I found an old shower hose with a metal spiral covering. Ru Ning a ne cable through that finally discouraged the little rascal (I needed to replace the plug, obviously)

        1. YetAnotherXyzzy Bronze badge

          Re: Ouch

          Yes, encasing cables helps. I use a locally available thick plastic encasement that is marketed to bundle cables together tidily. What makes it work is not that it is tough, and indeed I had a rabbit chew all the way through coax, wire mesh sheathing and all. The encasement seems to work because its wide diameter and slick surface make it hard to get a bite of. Having chew toys on hand helps, too.

          What doesn't work is pepper or citrus treatments. As far as I can tell, rabbits consider those to be condiments. Our rabbit's favorite chew toy is a home made creation of twigs and leaves from a lemon tree which has a lot more citrus punch than those silly no-chew sprays do.

    8. Zarno

      Re: Ouch

      One of our furry demolitions masters used t chew 110V mains cables. He survived to a ripe old age, and was always spunky and spry.

      We used to joke he was recharging for a fun night out.

  2. b0llchit Silver badge

    Alice, is that you?

    So glad I did not have to go through that rabbit hole...

  3. diver_dave

    Depending on the type of cable coupled with how poor bunny nibbled at it, it's possible he just nicked the earth (ground for our leftpondians) and nearly through the line.

    That would give enough leakage to trip an RCD/RCBO.

    Squirrels and rats tend to be the reason I end up crawling under decking. I don't find as many fried bodies as you would imagine.

    I think it's one campus at Alabama State University that's nick named Squirrel U due to the amount of incidents.

    Learned that from 'The Internet Tour Bus" back 25 years or so ago!

    1. AdamT

      I had some 240V Christmas lights in the garden one year. A fox chewed on the cable and, oddly, the RCD did not trip but the 3A fuse did blow and there was a reasonable amount of burning of the plastic around the bite zone.

      So I guess it got lucky and crushed the conductors together without touching them directly, maybe? Although presumably the spark/flash in its mouth would have been startling.

      On the other hand, I don't actually know what "tripping an RCD by touching the live wire" would feel like as I've never had that happen. Does anyone know?

      (For the record, I do know what "touching a live wire before the days of RCDs" feels like! Oddly, I would say that it was not as bad as the "dishwasher motor capacitor discharge via the mains plug" shock I once got before that got banned! )

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Does anyone know?

        It's slightly unpleasant. In one case in my distant youth it left me oddly confused and took about ten minutes to fully recover (maybe I also hit my head as a result of the shock, which may have contributed). The RCDs did their job though: I'm still fully alive after tripping such breakers trice with my own body parts.

        1. jake Silver badge

          I'd say it's more than slightly unpleasant.

          Definitely not on the old "Let's do that again!" listie ...

          1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            jake, definitely not.

            Anyway, it wasn't as traumatisingly unpleasant as to keep me from doing it twice more. You may call it a flat learning curve.

          2. Evil Scot

            It is the shame of admitting to shutting off various power circuits that is worse.

          3. heyrick Silver badge

            "I'd say it's more than slightly unpleasant."

            "Slightly unpleasant" is British for "fuck me that hurt".

            1. Elongated Muskrat

              I always forget that speakers of other variants of English don't have understatement as a rhetorical device.

              1. Mark 85

                I always forget that speakers of other variants of English don't have understatement as a rhetorical device.

                Some parts of the States are very well acquainted with the concept as some parts of the south refer to the Civil War as "the recent unpleasantness".

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  parts of the south refer to the Civil War as "the recent unpleasantness"

                  Because they don't want to admit to being beaten by those northern barbarians?

              2. Charlie van Becelaere

                Understatement as a rhetorical device

                Some of us make no small use of litotes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          One of my earliest memories...

          I was a late addition to my family and growing up in a modestly sized house I was in a cot in my parents' room slightly longer than strictly necessary. The house had old fashioned bakelite light switches with screw on covers. Being an inquisitive child, who had been put down for a nap when he didn't really need one, I unscrewed the cover and was inspecting the inner workings of the light switch.. "Hmm I wonder what happens if poke thi... BANG!" I remember 'coming to' a few moments later, flat on my back, and my father had run to check on me as the lights had flickered.

          This was pre RCD days and I can confirm, it was slightly unpleasant.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: One of my earliest memories...

            Bit older than that. I had a light switch above my bed on a chord that was a small Bakelite globe that unscrewed into halves to access the connection. So I did. And it hurt. And several decades later I'm very careful about electricity.

        3. gnasher729 Silver badge

          In Germany people have electric water heaters for their showers. Cold water + 11 KWatt = instant hot water. Protected by an RCD I think - any bilingual electricians who know if RCD and Fehlerstromschutzschaltung are the same - that should turn off power within a microsecond.

          You’re supposedly not feeling anything except the water goes cold.

          1. JQJ

            I'm not an electrician, but as far as I can see an RCD (residual-current device), RCCB (residual-current circuit breaker), Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFI, GFCI) are synonyms for what in German is called an Fehlerstromschutzschaltung. In Dutch it is called an aardlekschakelaar, verliesstroomschakelaar, differentieelschakelaar or aardwachter, although I've never heard that last one used in Belgium (Flanders). In French it is called an interrupteur différentiel as far as I know.


        4. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          MORE than "Slightly Unpleasant"

          As a child ~4 years old, I attempted to remove an old, horribly-designed mains plug so that I could move a reading lamp. The plug was smooth and shaped like a thin slice of a hemisphere, with the flat portion facing the socket. My weak little child-fingers were not strong enough to get a good grip on the hemisphere, so without realizing it at the time, my left thumb and forefinger "crept around" the edge of the hemisphere, seeking a better grip, as I partially-unplugged the plug.

          End result was mains power arcing from the live prong to my finger, traveling through my finger, and then arcing from my finger to the earth prong (this was well before 3-wire plugs, before polarized 2-wire plugs, and before RCDs). I screamed and cried, telling my mother, "IT BURNS! IT BURNS!!" while holding my forefinger aloft.

          That I remember it so vividly 55+ years later should tell you how much it hurt.

      2. diver_dave

        The capacitor is going to dump anything it's got in one go.

        The RCD/RCBO is going to bang out immediately. BS7671 says a maximum of 40ms to trip. In the real world from testing I'd guess median is around 20ms. The longest I've found without me failing it is around 30ms. Fault current maximum is 30 mA.

        I've only gone through a live cable once and the damage to my cutters was quite spectacular. Normal reason for tripping is producing a L-E fault/short when cutting a dead cable..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          My late* father tried to fit a hook to a wall and in the process managed to drill into a 3 phase 380V 25A cable once, with the drill progressing fast enough to connect the steel mantle he'd just penetrated to all 3 phases at once. And this was in the time before RCDs.

          As it was inside a wall he was saved from the resulting instant vapourisation of about 1cm of the drill tip but the flash and bang were considerable before the main circuit breakers decided nobody could possible want that much power in our house :).

          I had to chisel open the freshly tiled wall and make a hole large enough to repair the cable and waterproof it, and then we had to redo that wall.

          Thankfully we had enough spare tiles, and a spare drill..

          * No, he still managed to simply pass away of old age - he bought a metal detector soon after this adventure :)

          1. BeefEater

            I once did something similar. I was drilling the wall to fit a curtain rail when there was a flash and bang and the drill stopped working.

            I thought that I had damaged the drill itself, but it was only the drill bit that was damaged. It stopped because it was plugged into a socket directly below where I was drilling and the circuit fuse had blown due to me drilling through the cable.

            I just couldn't believe how stupid I had been not to consider where that socket got its power from.

            Luckily, being in the UK, it was a ring circuit and I had only damaged one of the cables, so I lifted the floor boards in the bedroom above and added a junction box to provide a single spur to the socket.

            Probably against all the rules, but there was no way I was going to replace that cable myself.

            1. RockBurner

              I did exactly that (drilled a hole directly above a socket), only a few months ago.

              In my initial defense, there was obviously another hole pre-drilled just above mine, I assumed therefore that my hole would be safe.

              Cue a bang, the lights go out and a lot of swearing.

              I'm not really a leccy type, so we got an electrician in to fix it, and in diagnosing "my" mistake, ie cutting the cable out of the wall and inspecting it, we discovered that the OTHER hole ALSO went through the cable, but had been 'repaired' by the simple expedient of stuffing polyfilla into it! My hole was in one of the runs to the socket, the older hole was in the return run, and the drill bit had gone between the live and neutral cores (hence why the run still 'worked'), my drilling had gone completely through the live core (IIRC).

              In some ways, I'm kinda glad I DID drill through the cable - we'd never have found other issue if I hadn't!

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Sparks have it drilled into them (ha!) that all cable runs must be horizontal and vertical between outlets so they are known to be in known defined zones, and all defined zones are defined to have cables in them whether they do or not. Unfortunately, too many decorators are oblivious to this and assume power arrives at an outlet through the air.

                I had one job where the kitchen fitters had removed all the old units - so they could clearly see the rising main and consumer unit - and then in the process of fitting the new units drilled straight through all six cables directly above the consumer unit.

                1. Quando

                  I wish they followed the horizontal/vertical rule. Putting a kitchen shelf up in my new build UK house in 2001 I hit a cable that shouldn’t have been there. RCD times so no big drama, but still…

                  The builders were still on site doing the next phase of the estate so I got a supervisor to come and explain why they hadn’t followed the code, and his excuse was ‘it’s just guidance’.

                  1. Rob Daglish

                    It isn't guidance, but larger house builders are allowed to sign off their own work and it isn't always quite to spec... A late friend (one of the best sparkies I ever met) had a real bee in his bonnet about it - his personal favourite was a brand new build where cables ran from the point of mains entry at the front of the house to the consumer unit, laid loosely through the holes in the metal frames of the walls.

                    As he said, it wasn't immediately dangerous, but as the walls flexed there was the possibility that the metal would wear through the insulation of the cable (single layer, not T&E) and make the entire house frame live...

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                "In some ways, I'm kinda glad I DID drill through the cable - we'd never have found other issue if I hadn't!"

                I was having some work done that involved some new electrics that also meant because of regulations, the consumer unit had to be upgraded from the old fuse wire based one to a new RCD based one. The sparkie was getting some strange readings when testing. The builders happened to have part of the floor up and one of them got a bit of a shock from what he thought was a bit of waste twin'n'earth. It turned out the two loose bits of wire were supposed to be joined to make the downstairs ring main. I'd been living in a house that was re-wired just before I moved in 30 years ago with one gigantic spur, the cut being just before it returned to the consumer unit.

            2. David Hicklin Bronze badge

              > drilling the wall to fit a curtain rail when there was a flash and bang

              done that as well but this time it was the shower power feed, only a pop and a small glowing ball to show for it.

              And one copper tipped drill !

          2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

            Someone I knew (and for all I know he's still alive) had less luck (mainly for the selection of his associates). Standing on a ladder, he drilled a whole in the ceiling and hit a live wire (no RCD). The ladder helped to insulate a bit and limited the current flowing through him. It was enough current to make him strongly grab the drill and impair his speaking ability. Standing up there on the ladder, he was staccato-like stammering «cucucucucucucucucucucucucucucucucu....» all the while, we, the audience, nearly died of laughing*. Until finally someone pulled the plug and he could finish «...cucucuCUT IT OFF!»

            *I'm not proud of that. But it was hilarious.

        2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          I did that changing a light switch for my mother, and I learned a very important lesson about using a multimeter to check all wires.

          Not being completely stupid, I started as I normally did on a job like this - turned the light on, then flipped the circuit breaker. Light goes out. The wiring on the switch is ragged looking, and there's slack, so I grab the cutters and squeeze - and grab hold of 120VAC for a bit. There was another socket elsewhere that was putting voltage on the neutral. Ever since then, I still verify power is out with the 'ol lights go out with the circuit breaker, but I added cut each wire by itself, and check all wires against each other with a multimeter. Once was enough!

          1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

            My father once discovered the hard way that a certain junction box had two circuits running through it. He'd pulled the fuse for one, but the other was still live...

            Fortunately, "only" 120 V.

            It was a 1960 build and we were the first owners, so it was clearly a licensed electrician who had committed that sin!

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Hmm. Or a developer told the builders to fit the electrics and a sparky just signed off a stack of them from his desk.

            2. KSM-AZ

              Junction Boxes

              The only limit I know of on circuits in a junction box is based on the size if the box, not the number of independent circuits.

              1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

                Re: Junction Boxes


                OK, I'm not an electrician, but if that's true, it strikes me as a deficiency in the regulations.

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Yup. . I've probably posted this before. My first flat. Just moved in. I came to change a light switch. Turned off mains (totally). Being paranoid about electricity (see previous) I checked with a tester anyway. It was fucking live! Turned out previous owner's mother had lived in the flat above. And he'd made an internal entrance to the stairway. With the hall light switch wired to her supply. And he'd left it like that when he sold up.

        3. Mike 16

          Cutting a dead cable

          if circa 1940s films involving newspapers are to be believed (I dunno, as I didn't learn to read until after I was born), you must remember the "million dollar word".

          I believe you meant to say "_allegedly_ dead cable"

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          The capacitor is going to dump anything it's got in one go.

          Like in an old TV.. (I had one that had a problem. Left it switched off for a day (still plugged in to the mains). Took the back off, started rooting around inside with a screwdriver and managed to bridge between the big capacitor and the frame (which was earthed). One big bang (and melted screwdriver later... I was lucky that I wasn't touching any of the metal of the screwdriver - as it was I got a small shock though the handle of the screwdriver.))

      3. David Hicklin Bronze badge

        > oddly, the RCD did not trip but the 3A fuse did blow

        If the short was live to neutral (so no earth current / unbalanced live-neutral flow) then the RCD would not have seen anything unusual.

        The fuse however would and obviously did!

        1. AdamT

          Yes, exactly.

          My surprise was that the bite managed to make the Live and Neutral touch together but without at any point letting either of them touch the earth wire or the fox itself - which would have been standing on damp grass ...

      4. PRR Bronze badge

        > I don't actually know what "tripping an RCD by touching the live wire" would feel like as I've never had that happen. Does anyone know?

        Done it a couple times. First, when GFI was very new in the US, I reached up to an overhead outlet while standing on concrete (which is always dampish). Heard a mild thunk, felt nothing, but table saw would not run. I had tripped the GFI. (And this was surely in rubber-sole shoes.)

        The RCD and GFI specs seem to be the same thing, only one quotes a 50mA quick-trip current and the other the 5mA long-trip current.

        You can feel 5mA steady but maybe not for "an instant" while doing something else.

        Very different than 100mA through shock-damaged skin from direct use of 120/240V. Different again from 30mA at 15kV (oil flame ignition).

  4. Ball boy Silver badge

    Chewed wires?

    Try this one:

    Now that really is a serious case of the munchies! No word of anything actually getting flambéed though.

  5. Sequin

    I got a call from my ex-wife one night panisking because all her power had gone off. I drove over and started troubleshooting. About an hour's testing, unplugging appliances and resetting the circuit breaker suggested that the problem was in the kitchen. It turned out that one of her cats (un-neutered male) had a habit of sleeping on top of the fridge. This time he had decided to spray his corner and the urine ran down the wall and seeped into the socket the fridge was plugged in to! I had to remove the socket, rinse it out and dry it carefully before reinstalling it. I also sealed the edges of the socket with silicone. I also arranged an appontment for the cat at the vet's - the unkindest cut of all!

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Why did you arrange an appointment for your ex-wife's cat? An enquiring mind needs to know.

      Upvote for sealing the socket!

      1. diver_dave


        Top man for thinking of that.

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        To avoid similar repairs in the future..,

    2. MrXonTR

      Re: un-neutered male

      Once a tom cat has learnt to spray things he'll generally never stop even after surgery. It's best to get 'em young.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: un-neutered male

        "It's best to get 'em young" or else there's still this solution. Trust me, your guests will not notice the difference.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: un-neutered male

          Was confused for a second as that was a link for rabbit pie, in a thread about cats...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: un-neutered male

          Hmm, now you're giving me ideas... I wonder if the neighbour's cats would make a decent bolognese sauce. It would save me the trouble of suspending electric sheep fencing horizontally over my garden (as suggested by a commentard further up).

          1. pirxhh

            Re: un-neutered male

            Just stick toothpicks where cats tend to do their unwanted business. Seems to work well as they fear for the 8ntegrity of their delicate bums.

    3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      So a disconnected fridge becomes a disconnected cat.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now we know ..

    .. how they came up with the Energiser Bunny..

    1. DarkLordofSurrey

      Re: Now we know ..

      Watts up doc?

  7. MaddMatt

    D*mned Wabbit

    Happened to me quite a while ago

    Mid game on a ZX spectrum on the family TV (with the speccy on the floor in front)

    Sisters pet rabbit lopes past, sniffs the (low voltage) cable near the back of the computer, and then snips through it and buggers off.

    It looked like some reflex to do with clearing roots - it tried to toss the wire away before leaving.

    I did get to add an on-off switch at the cut -something which the ZX range was missing.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: D*mned Wabbit

      That is an interesting theory, rabbits DO seem to be the worst offenders for this, and the root snipping reflex would make sense... have a beer to 'no callouts, due to lagomorphs or otherwise.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember chatting to some retired GCHQ types, who had found it hilarious that a US listening post in the UK (presumably Menwith Hill) had had massive problems with disconnections.

    Apparently they'd not heeded their British colleagues warnings about protecting the cables from the British bunnies who were happily chewing through the unprotected cables.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I once did a consulting job at a government department which shall remain unnamed but whose staff were not exactly fast (that ought to leave it vague enough :) ) - frankly, the lack of activity was driving me nuts. I don't mind not being rushed off my feet, but these people would have been outrun by a snail on a salt lick.

      To alleviate boredom, I started counting rabbits at the end of the day when walking from the main building to the gate, and I generally managed to get to 40 or so. They all were grey-ish - a bit like the people working in the building, but moving faster (you may sense a theme here - it was frustrating).

      A few months in (I think it was spring heading for summer with quite a lot of nice sunny days), a colourful rabbit showed up amongst them - white with brown patches, demonstrating that the fence was not exactly a barrier for them. And rabbits being rabbits, the population soon expanded with the cause clearly visible as more non-grey rabbits started appearing.

      When I left, my last walk-to-the-gate count was over 60 :)

      1. Death Boffin

        Bunny begone

        Also had a lot of bunnies on the lawn to count walking into the workplace. That is until the bobcat showed up. A little unnerving to see the bobcat lurking under the rosebushes on the way in. It was quite unafraid of humans. Probably not life threatening, but could do a lot of damage if it decided it didn't want you there.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "When I left, my last walk-to-the-gate count was over 60 :)"

        Back in the day, I used to visit a "secure site"[*] in Cumbria fairly often and the route I used was quite rural (as was the destination) since it was more direct and quicker than the main roads, ie they made the other two sides of a triangle. In Spring it got to the stage that there were so many rabbits, especially young ones, that it was pointless trying to avoid running them over. I never tried to to "get" them, I just gave up worrying about them, They are, after all, pests. I think the most I "got" on a single trip was 10. A bit of a disconcerting sound the first few times it happens, but eventually you realise it's evolution in action.

        * I can't say where, but I got "glowing" references :-)

    2. Spanners Silver badge

      A long standing practice

      they'd not heeded their British colleagues warnings

      Ever since they've become (more or less) on our side in 1917, their military has often made a point of ignoring advice. At least this example did not cost so many lives as...

      "use convoys to protect your ships against U-boats" WW1 and WW2


      "putting lots of machine guns on your bombers will not save them even if you fly in nice, interceptor-friendly, large groups".

      I could spend all day adding more items but am too lazy!

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: A long standing practice

        use convoys to protect your ships against U-boats

        And for 50 years afterwards, and in all the documentaries in that time, people actually believed that it was the discovery of "convoy" tactics that magically reduced shipping losses in WWII.

        It was only when the people involved started getting letters telling them that they were no longer covered by the Official Secrets act, and the American equivalent, that information about WWII code breaking, Naval codes, and location of German u-boats, started to come out.

        1. Dave@Home

          Re: A long standing practice

          Convoy tactics were shown to reduce losses even with access to the other sides codes.

          Just look at Operation Drumbeat when the US entered the war, the inability to protect individual merchantment caused havoc on the US East Coast, even with forewarning of UBoat deployments in the area.

          1. david 12 Silver badge

            Re: A long standing practice

            The effect of naval code breaking was that convoys could be directed to avoid wolf-packs. Before this was possible, shipping simply spread out to avoid total annihilation. This wasn't possible with costal shipping.

  9. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Two four you

    Had to investigate the in-laws fridge a few years sinceupon. It was in an enclosed rear porch and had suddenly ceased working.

    Nothing untoward with supply, plugs, fuses and cables so I went deeper.

    Top off and small PCB exposed with the remains of a fried slug across trackwork, holes in copper and PCB.

    It was beyond rebuilding and doo obsolete for spares unfortunately so a replacement secondhand fridge sourced.

    I look a month holiday to visit family, flying out of Heathrow. Rather than paying for parking I parked at a relative's close to the airport and went in by local cab.

    A week or two after getting back the car got poorly so cue a trip to the garage and left the car there.

    The problem was actually a failed rear ABS sensor (Passats do that sometimes) but I did get a call asking if I had a mouse problem.

    It appears that in our months absence the little blighters had climbed under the bonnet and built a sizeable nest under the plastic engine cover, making a chewed mess of some wiring.

    Little sodlets

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Two four you

      As a subscriber to 'just rolled in' on the google owned tube thing, I can confirm that is extremely common,. and why not... warmish, dry, off the ground, and fairly well insulated. That being said, I had about 7 vintage 1960s 700 series phones destroyed (cords anyway) by the little bastages. Yes i know you can now get replacements, but mid 90s you couldn't...

    2. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      Re: Two four you

      "the remains of a fried slug across trackwork"

      In my childhood home, we and several neighbours lost power for a few hours when a squirrel did the same across the terminals of the local up-the-pole step-down transformer. I'm fairly sure that happened more than once, actually.

    3. John Geek

      Re: Two four you

      A few years ago I parked my rarish (1 of 775 in the USA) 1993 Mercedes 300CE Cabriolet (Convertible) for the winter due to the top leaking in heavy rains, when I went to start it again in the sunny spring, I had zero electrics. popped the hood, big woodrat nest right on top of the engine, and in the battery compartment, and they had chewed through ALL the main ground wires that go everywhere off the right front spring tower ground point. I never did get that car sorted out again, sigh, it was a sweet ride when it was running. But, it was getting on in years and miles, it had over 260,000 US miles on the clock and things were starting to get tired, it was due for tires, brakes, a new cloth top, and the back seat leather was all dried out and cracking.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Two four you

        What's a "US mile"? AFAIK, I mile is a mile unless it's nautical or historical. I'm pretty sure that every country that still uses miles all use the "statute mile" and that's the same length everywhere.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: Two four you

          If you've ever been to the West Country, you'll be aware of The Cornish Mile, which is a variable quantity and tends to be rather longer on the moor, and/or at night.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They love cables.

    I had a couple of trail cams in the back garden and noticed one had gone off line. The other camera showed a rabbit messing about where the cable to the dead cam was then jumping about 2 feet in the air and about 3 feet backwards at the exact time the first camera went dead. It ran off, so I think it was shocked as in surprised, rather than as in electrocuted.

    1. Andy A

      Re: They love cables.

      Non-rodents have also taken a liking to automotive wiring. A couple of months back the news had a report of a street where urban foxes regularly attacked the cabling under parked vehicles.

      It seems that the insulation used these days is not the plastic most of us would expect, but something made from soy beans. Tasty!

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: They love cables.

        it is a long term plan by the Greens to destroy automotive industry:

        - first pass laws prohibiting the use of plastics for cabling and asking for an eco-friendly version based on renewable resources (e.g.: plants)

        - add incentives to use waste products from the agro-industry

        - end with aforementioned soy beans based cabling coating

        - inform local wildlife

        and voila!

        soon no cars will be able to run.

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: They love cables.

          Honda sells a deterrent.

          Rodent Tape

          by American Honda Motor Company

          Part # 4019-2317

          Rodent tape is a deterrent for critters that like to chew vehicle wiring. Wrap any trouble spots to prevent any future wire harness issues. The tape is treated with capsaicin (active component in chili peppers). When wrapping the harness it is recommended to use the half-wrapping method. Each time you wrap the tape around the harness overlap the previous layer by half the width of the tape. One roll = ~65 feet of tape.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: They love cables.

        Interesting, a customer of ours has had issues with their low voltage garden lights being monched on by foxes, i've even gone so far as to suggest mineral insulated cable (the solid copper stuff) as a deterrent, but the price is a bit much for 12v lights!

        Incidentally, foxes=cat firmware, running on dog hardware :)

        1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

          Re: They love cables.

          Upvoted for the last paragraph.

          Another way of looking at it:

          Dogs = Stepford Wolves

          (Well, only approximately equal, but you get the idea)

  11. chivo243 Silver badge

    The butler couldn't have done it...

    I'm a bit curious as to how Roger got behind the fridge. the one our hero had to budge out of the way to find the power cord? It's animation, it's all done with smoke and mirrors! Just ask Kenny!!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: The butler couldn't have done it...

      I'm a bit curious as to how Roger got behind the fridge. the one our hero had to budge out of the way to find the power cord?

      He can only do it when it's funny, as I recall.

  12. Norman Nescio Silver badge


    It's not just current-carrying cables that get damaged. I remember a spate of service outages on a fibre-optic trunk in Thailand carried on telephone/graph poles, caused by squirrels. The solution was to bury the fibre.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Squirrels

      Bury the squirrels?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Squirrels are indestructible

        Many moons ago an accidental experiment involving squirrels and deadly poison was carried out in the wilds of Deep South Florida. Certain relatives, having spent a lot of time on The Rock, a.k.a. Jamaica, were fond of the Jamaican dish known as ackee and saltfish. The saltfish is bad enough, it’s salted Nova Scotia cod. How anyone eats that stuff is beyond me, it was originally sent to Jamaica as cheap slave food. Ackee is highly poisonous unless properly processed. In particular the red outer jacket and the black seeds are deadly. It was banned from the US for a very long time, which meant that the second most smuggled vegetable item from Jamaica to the US was ackee. Including seeds, so that it could be grown locally. (How many Jamaicans are in South Florida? Let’s just say that the mayor of Lauderhill Lakes is/was Jamaican. And the main city park in Lauderhill Lakes has a cricket ground, not a baseball diamond.)

        So there are ackee trees all over Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach counties. And local squirrels eat the ackees, including the jackets and seeds. And don’t die. There are mutant indestructible squirrels roaming South Florida! Humans die if they eat ackee that hasn’t been cooked properly. Iguanas die if they eat ackee, and good riddance. Raccoons sniff ackee and walk away. Assorted birds get very sick and may die if they eat ackee; if the birds live, they stay far away from ackee for life, and tend to pass along the warning to their offspring. Squirrels love ackee. Ackee trees have to be protected from squirrels. Squirrels will eat anything.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Squirrels will eat anything.

          The squirrels in my garden don't eat tomatoes, although perhaps they are never hungry enough. They do, however, dig mysterious little holes everywhere for no discernable reason. In the grass. In plant pots. Right next to tomato plants. Far away from tomato plants. Sometimes I wonder if I have carnivorous squirrels that like eating worms.

          1. Martin-73 Silver badge

            Re: Squirrels will eat anything.

            Squirrels are indeed carnivorous (well omnivorous to be pedantic), they will eat roadkill and so forth, so worms isn't much of a stretch

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Squirrels will eat anything.

              Ah, interesting. I wonder if I can train them to eat snails? :-)

              1. Martin-73 Silver badge

                Re: Squirrels will eat anything.

                they've been known to... dunno if they mistake them for 'umami acorns' lol

          2. Zarno

            Re: Squirrels will eat anything.

            They will eat anything, and like bird eggs.

            Not as nasty as cats to the local bird populations, but they do reduce numbers.

            The birds pecking after the red squirrels and dive bombing them is fun to watch.

        2. PRR Bronze badge

          Re: Squirrels are indestructible

          > Ackee is highly poisonous unless properly processed.

          Just wait until the pod opens fully, "smiles". As explained in detail in your Wiki link.

    2. Death Boffin
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Squirrels

      It's all a great conspiracy.

    3. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Squirrels

      That happens worldwide, and often enough that telecoms have "squirrel chew" or "animal chew" as a ticket closure code for fiber cuts. Animal chews and construction are the two most common reasons for fiber cuts.

  13. Coastal cutie

    Someone I used to work with had a Persian cat who did a similar trick with the Christmas tree lights. There was a flash, bang, cat thrown across the room and off went everything connected to that circuit. The cat survived, but ended up with every hair stood on end including the tail - all you could see was 2 staring eyes looking our from a pom-pom with a bottle brush tail

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      but ended up with every hair stood on end including the tail I stood literally face-to-face with a frightened and angry rat. After it was dead, it was abut 6 inches in the body. But when it had all it's fur stood up it was double in size -- and from my point of view, almost arm to arm in length.

  14. jake Silver badge

    For the wild ones, we had an answer.


    Worked at The Dish at Stanford ... Had to use traps at SLAC, too many people around to even use low powered things like garden guns.

    Took a couple generations, but eventually they learned to stay away. That was about 50 years ago.

  15. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    on-call is a noun. You need a verb there.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      The way I use it, it's an adjective. Maybe we're using it in different ways.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      It's the new US styleg uide in use by El Reg. Nouning verbs, verbing nouns and prepositioning adjectives is all fair game now :-)

  16. Dave Pickles

    They don't only like cables

    When the Rugby radio masts were being demolished in 2004, three of the eight masts failed to fall at the first attempt because the detonation cord had been eaten by rabbits.

    1. Caver_Dave Silver badge

      Re: They don't only like cables

      I used to commute past there and wondered why they hadn't all been blown at once. Have one ->

  17. AdamT

    "Andrew" has form for this

    Not just rabbits but Guinea Pigs too:

    (and cats:

  18. TRT Silver badge

    His wife's rabbit...

    is only supposed to run off AAs.

  19. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Bunny charged after chewing cables

    So why not cover the insulating layer in Denatonium, or similar, so that bunny goes off to chew a nice fresh carrot instead of the wiring, after just a few short bites?

    Imagery: not feeling so well after eating the purple stuff ====>

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Bunny charged after chewing cables

      as seen upthread, it seems to be an instinct, and it's fast... the bitterness wouldn't get thru till after the damage was done. That would work for rats though, who seem to strip cable for nesting

  20. AndyMTB

    Bunny Bug

    My sister was persuaded to look after her son and partner's "house rabbit" for a week. It arrived in a hutch which was situated in the dining room, but my sister used to let it out for a run around a couple of times each day. During one free-time, she had to take a phone call and when she finally rang off, said rabbit was nowhere to be found. After a hour or so's panicky searching, Flopsy (not his real name, he asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons) finally appeared from behind a lounge chair. Not just any old lounge chair, but my brother-in-law's top of the range electric recliner, carefully lined up for the perfect Sky Sports viewing angle.

    So, rabbit is re-boxed, and all is quiet until 8pm when Dave's team was playing, it was discovered that the chair was inoperable. Changes of fuses etc were to no avail. After a few days the "chair engineer" turns up and the problem is quickly diagnosed. "Bad news for you I'm afraid" he says - "You've got a rat somewhere!".

    Engineer agrees to comment on the worksheet "degraded wiring" and my brother-in-law is still none the wiser. And there's no chance he will read this journal!

  21. DS999 Silver badge

    What type of hellish job

    Has someone on call to fix power issues in a home office?

    If told none of the gear will power on I would have said call an electrician and hung up!

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: What type of hellish job

      Depends on the nature of the business, size of the business, and the laidbackness of the tech.

  22. Martin-73 Silver badge

    requiring an electricians 'ticket' to rewire the cord to an appliance

    Is Andrew Australian?

  23. Emjay111

    Bang! and the wire cutters were gone....

    Reminds me of that time I cut through a 16A spur, thinking I'd dropped the breaker a few hours previously. Wrong. The blinding flash of light and accompanying noise caused me to lose my balance, falling backwards off the step ladder. Both blades of the wire cutters evaporated into thin air.

    Still not as bad as the time the back of my hand accidentally touched the metal can of a TO-3 line output transistor on a CRT TV back in the early 80's. Apart from the high voltage shock, I think it was the frequency (15625KHz) that made me physically sick. I had a nice round mark on the back of my hand for a few days after as well.

    I now work with even higher voltages, but I'm exceedingly cautious having learned the hard way in my youth.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Bang! and the wire cutters were gone....

      Had similar in the attic of an indian restaurant.. came across an old 6mm2 cable , tested it with one of those non contact testers, had colleague turn off ANYTHING labelled to do with high power upstairs... and snipped it... I was deaf for about 20 seconds. My cutters became wire strippers. And the 45A breaker labelled 'smoke alarms'* tripped.

      *yes really, it had a fused spur on the end of it with a 3A fuse, but having been labelled smoke alarms, colleague had missed that it was a 45A! lol

      I now skin such cables carefully with an insulated knife and use a proper tester on them with insulation piercing probes. Have a beer because that TV one will make you wake up in a hurry

  24. Manolo


    I was on call for a large pharmacy supplying medication to nursing homes. Sunday morning 5 am, phone rings. "I need to put in an urgent order for medication". So I first enquired what was needed, as sometimes they try to order trivial stuff like vitamins, or things they have an emergency supply of, like antibiotics. Turned to be Parkinson medication, which is sort of a worst case scenario, as not only do you not want to skip it, it is also very time critical. So next question: when does it need to be administered?

    Eight.... PM.

    Managed not to swear and went back to sleep.

  25. hayzoos

    I was just about complete on a friends & family computer repair job when the screen went blank, and I heard the puppy yelp loudly. The pup was in that chew everything stage and said stage ended that very moment. The power cord was well chewed and not worth repairing. I located a replacement cord and luckily for me the unexpected outage had no lasting effect on the computer. The pup on the other hand ran off to its bed and laid there for at least half an hour. At least all other cords from that day on were safe from the pup.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Our little Cocker Spaniel pup did that many years ago. Clockradio wire. She was OK. Clock got replaced.

  26. TimMaher Silver badge

    Sautéed rabbit.

    Really nice with caramelised apple slices in a cider and cream sauce. Accompany it with mashed potatoes and perhaps some french beans.


  27. GuldenNL

    Obviously Not An Aerosmith Fan

    Hunny Bunny never did like Steven Tyler…

    Sweet emotion

    Sweet emotion

    I pulled into town in a police car

    Your daddy said I took it just a little too far

    You're telling her things but your girlfriend lied

    You can't catch me 'cause the rabbit done died

    Yes it did

    1. Kevin Fairhurst

      Re: Obviously Not An Aerosmith Fan

      Shame I can only upvote this once!

  28. Phrontis

    Chewed flex

    Our cat managed to chew through the cable for the Christmas tree lights. Unfortunately it was on the low voltage side and she barely noticed. Wish it had been on the 230V side as she's managing to shred the furniture as well.

  29. ChipsforBreakfast

    Don't mention squirrels!

    New warehouse, massive place with 15m roofs into which numerous cameras, wireless access points and other IT stuff were installed. All in all, about 60 brand spanking new cat5e cables carefully laid in the equally shiney & new cable tray running the 80m length of the place.

    Everything installed, tested & signed off. Expensive hydraulic platform returned to the hire company & the racking team move in to build the new racking. Fast forward 3 months. Call comes in that about 70% of the stuff isn't working any more. Remote checks show various switchports that should be active very much inactive with no good reason apparent.

    Engineer is sent to site armed with cable testing kit... Yep, 70% of those new cables were dead. Problem is, now the racking is in there's no room to get the platform back in... After a Lot of head scratching and some fairly interesting calls we finally sourced a machine narrow enough and with a high enough reach to get up to the cables, only to find them thoroughly chewed.

    My first thought was rats but pest control later caught not one, not two but 5 bloody grey squirrels running around in there. Destructive little buggers had been using the tray as some kind of squirrel superhighway & chomping cables at random as they went!

    I haven't seen a mess like it before or since.

    1. John Geek

      Re: Don't mention squirrels!

      Squirrels are just bushy tail rats.

      had the tree squirrels at my place fill up the engine on my ford diesel truck with acorns, I shopvac'd out like about 2 gallons of acorns from the valley in the 7.3L powerstroke V8. I sprayed peppermint oil all over everything, thats kept them out since, but I have to renew it every month or so.

  30. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Family cat and a 12v power supply

    Not a huge deal, but I had a old fashioned 12v brick power supply with no fusing, essentially nothing but a 10:1 step-down transformer and some diodes, running an antenna amplifier. The family cat was known for chewing, but I had the wire tucked safely behind my little TV stand in my tightly-packed room. Or so I thought. Cats apparently share DNA with the cockroach and can squeeze themselves anywhere they want. They also seem to have the ability to detect wires behind solid objects. I was coming out of the shower one day and heard a God-awful screech a bunch of bumping around, then the cat came tearing ass out of my room. It took me a couple of days to put things together as I did not often get a chance to watch said TV. But I finally did and found it had a weak signal. I pulled the heavy 20-something inch tube telly and its stand out to find the one leg of the wire chewed through, and the other leg, at roughly the same spot, had been punctured through its insulation with the wire exposed.

    To my knowledge, the little summabitch never chewed another wire. I was glad it was a little 12V 1A line rather than a 120V line on a 15A circuit. Would have been a real nasty clean-up, and moving that TV sucked.

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