Power companies give squirrels a jolt

zapper.jpg(CNN) Shocking news: Squirrels and power lines don’t mix. The cute but pesky rodents are a leading cause of unplanned outages. They chew through power lines, fry themselves by completing electrical circuits and generally wreak havoc on power grids. Utility companies, always on the hunt for new ways to combat animals, may have found an inexpensive solution to what has long been a vexing problem.

Mystech: Wait, so it only employs a nonlethal jolt? Tell me this is a setting the user can change! Thanks to Cyberduck and Loresinger for helping me track this down.

If you can’t beat ’em, zap ’em.

The ZAPshield is an $11 polymer disc that arrived on the market some three years ago and delivers a nonlethal, electrostatic jolt to any varmint touching it. In Pennsylvania, two large utilities have both deployed the ZAPshield.

The idea is to give the squirrels enough of a shock to keep them away from sensitive power equipment but not enough of one to hurt them.

Inventor Jim Rauckman compares the feeling of getting zapped by the ZAPshield to walking across a carpet on a dry day and then touching someone.

“It teaches them not to be up there,” Rauckman said.

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3 Responses

  1. Tom K. says:

    Nonlethal? Won’t this just stimulate innovation and escalation of the conflict? What will linesmen do when these are turned on them by the Enemy?

    If we are resolved that this Enemy presents a clear and present danger to our way of life, and I think we are, we have a responsibility to act preemptively to save our way of life from further carnage.

    Jack up the voltage. Bring the noise.

  2. Gieseppi says:

    I agree, these natural terrorists have interupted the power to many hospitals and vital government facilities and should be dealt with as any terrorist should. The war on terror must extends to the squirrel as well. Just because it is consideredy some uninformed persons as being cute does not change what it is capable of doing it must be dealt with.


  3. Mystech says:

    Finally! Two REAL Americans who aren’t afraid to do whatever, to whomever, as many times as it takes to preserve our way of life. I’m writing the company requesting that they rename their product “FreedomShields”.

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