back to article South London: Rats! The rodents have killed the internet

Giant cable-nomming rodents have caused "extensive damage" in South London by chewing through fibre, leaving customers without broadband since last night. Sky and TalkTalk apologised this morning for the lost of service, which occurred yesterday evening around 9pm. A message to one customer from Sky at 9:55am said: "Engineers …

Silver badge

Oh damn, we've only ever had issues with various rodents chewing through ethernet twisted pair cable. The fibre has always seemed to be immune. If they are getting a taste for fibre as well then it makes life a lot more difficult.

I wonder what armour they had on these cables?

4
0
Silver badge

No Armour on fibre.

It would make laying way, way more expensive.

7
0
Silver badge

Hmm, I thought it was standard practice to run armoured for all outdoor runs. The price difference has never been much for the runs we do.

5
0
Anonymous Coward

They used a cheese based polymer.

29
0
Silver badge

The All-bran ad team are celebrating...

The fibre has always seemed to be immune.

- seems the rat population are in a health-conscious kick.

18
0
Silver badge
Alert

Armour is pointless

Rats can gnaw through steel doors to get meat in cold room.

Only humans and birds eat chilli.

Chilli powder and tabasco stopped the rodents eating my satellite cables to get in/out of house. Now I knead Chilli powder into plasticine and plug around cable entries with it.

I'm sure some sort of chilli filled sleeve is cheaper than rat or mouse proof armour.

17
1
Silver badge

Cheese myth

Both rats and mice much prefer bird seed to cheese or bacon.

I discovered they are very fond of chunky peanut butter (not actually a nut), so I use it to "glue" some bird seed to bait holder on rat traps and on mouse traps just use peanut butter. Results in hours.

13
0
Bronze badge

The local cableco had problems with squirrels (a.k.a. rats with bushy tails) eating cable and tried almost everything to get rid of them, without success. Until, that is, three things happened in close succession:

1 a family of red-tailed hawks moved into a tree just outside the housing development; the hawks come back every year, now.

2 at least one kingsnake moved in, too; it stays year-round.

3 several of the local semi-feral cats developed a taste for squirrel; they stay year-round, too.

The local bushy-tailed rat population has declined, and with it the damage to the cableco's infrastructure.

13
0
Silver badge

It doesn't matter.

Those front teeth will gnaw through wood, steel, plaster, plastic, brick, copper, lead in fact, there's almost nothing that a rodent cant gnaw. The word rodent comes from the Latin "rodere"; "to gnaw".

It has nothing to do with food. If they don't gnaw to keep those teeth short, they overgrow making it impossible to feed and the rodent dies of starvation ironically.

17
0
Silver badge

Re: It doesn't matter.

It may be the case that they can, but I've never had a rodent eat through armoured fibre but I have lost loads of Copper Twisted Pair cabling due to various animals eating through them.

At a difference of a few pennies per metre for armoured fibre it is used for most outdoor runs that we do.

In fact I would be interested in some citations about rats being able to chew through steel, aluminium possibly but steel seems a stretch.

6
0
Silver badge
Joke

Re: The All-bran ad team are celebrating...

"

The fibre has always seemed to be immune.

"

Hungry rats do not touch optic fibre. But not-so-hungry rats will often eat it when they fancy a light snack ...

16
0

Re: Armour is pointless

@Mage That sounds like the perfect reason to ensure all cable access points are housed in Indian (substitute spicy-food-cooking country of your choice) restaurants.

I imagine this would simultaneously increase the number of engineers available to fix problems and the amount of time taken to fix them - "we had to remain on site to ensure the splice was properly cooked".

4
1
Slx
Bronze badge

Cheese.

1
0

Armour?

Obviously they used only the best hard cheese.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Armour is pointless

"Only humans and birds eat chilli."

Not true. I've had rodents enjoy meals in my chilli patch.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Armour is pointless

Chilli powder and tabasco stopped the rodents eating my satellite cables to get in/out of house. Now I knead Chilli powder into plasticine and plug around cable entries with it.

That's only going to work until global warming makes the UK suitable for Mexican mice. The UK is already on high alert for sightings of the Asian hornet (get the app) so they can be stopped from establishing themselves, so I reckon mice aren't far behind. Worse, with a high chilli content the native foxes won't eat them.

:)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It doesn't matter.

In fact I would be interested in some citations about rats being able to chew through steel, aluminium possibly but steel seems a stretch.

It's well documented. The late Harry Harrison (RIP) actually wrote a whole series of books about it.

:)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Armour is pointless

"Only humans and birds eat chilli."

Try telling that to my dog.

0
0
Bronze badge

"Hmm, I thought it was standard practice to run armoured for all outdoor runs. The price difference has never been much for the runs we do."

Maybe for campus type work, where the runs are relatively short - but for telco use, where the distances can be 1000s of km, the price of armored cable would be prohibitive, so it's only used where necessary.

You can actually buy fibre cable with rodent repellent sheathing, but that adds to the cost per metre as well, so it's typically only used where there is an identified rodent problem.

0
0

Pfft

"Virgin Media broadband cabinet in Shropshire last year, resulting in, um, sluggish broadband services."

The wording suggests you're a bit ashamed of that pun, but we know the truth.

You love it.

Steven R

39
0
Silver badge

Wow... it's almost like they didn't have redundant fibre down there too, and that nobody was monitoring or noticed that their fibre strands were dropping off one-by-one....

15
0
Bronze badge

"Wow... it's almost like they didn't have redundant fibre down there too, and that nobody was monitoring or noticed that their fibre strands were dropping off one-by-one...."

It was possibly the cable from the exchange to the roadside cabinets - I woulndn't expect them to be redundant, especially if it is an x-PON type system where there is only passive optical splitter/combiners in the cabinets.

I can also tell you from personal experience that the time between one bitten fibre and 8 or 9 can be very short - like a matter of seconds - it all depends on exactly how that particular rat goes about the job. If it eats around the sheath first and then follows up with a chomp at the kevlar strength member in the centre of the cable then it's going to take out more than one at a time.

The other aspect to consider is that if, as I mention above, there is only passive components at the far end of the cable, there is nothing capable of reporting a signal loss. As for loss of the back channel signal back at the exchange - is the cable cut, or have the customer's modems just shut down due to a power cut?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Vermin Infested Companies infested with vermin.

13
0

Flavoured cabling

The answer here is surely to give the fibre a new taste and scent.

Ferret urine would be a nice new smell for cable that rats would really dislike, and incorporating ultra-bitter chemicals into the cable insulation is surely not beyond the wit of cable manufacturers?

13
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Flavoured cabling

That's all very well until your rat gets toxoplasmosis.

"Infection with T. gondii has been shown to alter the behavior of mice and rats in ways thought to increase the rodents' chances of being preyed upon by cats. Infected rodents show a reduction in their innate aversion to cat odors; while uninfected mice and rats will generally avoid areas marked with cat urine or with cat body odor, this avoidance is reduced or eliminated in infected animals."

(TBF, not sure if it works the same with ferret urine. Dunno if I'd want to be repairing your smelly fibre though!)

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Flavoured cabling

"give the fibre a new taste and scent"

Brilliant as we can no longer use "up to" we'll class broadband connections by taste and scent.

Thanks,

Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Marketing Division.

14
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Re: Flavoured cabling

Just add Bitrex most bitter substance on earth and recognised as such by the Guinness world records people. You can request a taste test kit but be warned it leaves a very very nasty taste in the mouth.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Flavoured cabling

When they realise its ONLY a scent and there is no danger of being eaten, they will move back in.

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Flavoured cabling

rodents don't taste bitrex or denatonium benzoate to give it its proper name , which is why its used in rodenticide to stop humans eating it. Its the same stuff they use to stop nail biting.

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Flavoured cabling

"That's all very well until your rat gets toxoplasmosis."

That infection also affects human behaviour - see learned article or popular press.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Flavoured cabling

Muh Free Will!

0
0
Bronze badge
Holmes

Re: Flavoured cabling

Well you learn something new every day. I'm with the chilli powder coating then.

1
0
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Favoritism

So we have a Kat writing and article about rats!

Do the rats get a right to reply? Ya know unbiased reporting .. yada yada yada and all that

Enquiring minds need to know!

Icon: No rat catcher icon so that was the closest!

16
0
Silver badge

Re: Favoritism

Icon: No rat catcher icon so that was the closest!

- Whew, I just thought for momo, that you were confused by the 'ankle-biter' epithet.

6
0
Silver badge
Joke

Nice photos, but..

"Is no rat. Is hamster!"

25
0
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Nice photos, but..

That is speciesist, if that hamster wants to identify as a rat you should respect that.

19
0
Silver badge

Re: Nice photos, but..

Si, is Siberian hamster. That is why is having tail.

7
0
Silver badge
Joke

There's an...

Optical mouse joke in there somewhere...

15
0
Silver badge

Re: There's an...

An optical wireless mouse joke. You know, cutting the cable and all.

20
0
Silver badge
Coat

Cable...

They need more roughage in their diet - that one's a bit light in fibre.

Wouldn't have happened if they'd used CAT-6.

Mine's the one with the Warfarin in the pocket ----------->

10
0
Anonymous Coward

I just laughed at Cable-nomming

that was enough for me.

9
0
Thumb Down

Seems they dont' like BT fibre

Perhaps Openreach uses substandard cables that the discerning Sarf London rat turns its nose up at. I am in Brixton Hill and I am, sadly, able to work from home. Come on you murine gnawers. I want to send a text to work saying, sorry, the intertubes are down due to rodent damage so I am stopping work.

11
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: Seems they dont' like BT fibre

Perhaps Openreach uses substandard cables that the discerning Sarf London rat turns its nose up at.

OTOH perhaps the rats read El Reg, a safe space for those who don't like BT fibre.

1
0
Silver badge

That's what you get...

That's what you get when your offering is so cheezy.

8
0

Happened a few years ago along Regent Street, I think some fool left a cap off a cable sleeve and the rats got in and had a feast, took out main internet for a few weeks as they wouldn't get in and repair it until the rats were dealt with first.

Cant say I blame them really, but 3 weeks running email on a backup 1mb colt line was painful as hell.......

6
0

You can't win

It showed no matter how advanced you get; you can't win from the rats! :P

4
0
Silver badge
Go

Replacing broadband service with "gnawed-band"?

(Sorry, all I could come up with)

6
0
Coat

We clearly need more cats on the Internet.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

"[...] outage hits Gnaw-wood..."

A nice pun.

Norwood is an area in South London - although not specifically mentioned in the list of affected areas.

2
0
Slx
Bronze badge

Insulation choice!

While cheese has excellent insulation and lubrication properties for blowing fibres down ducts, using it to coat fibres was probably never the best of an idea.

1
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017