How many snakes does it take to slither into a substation and short the circuits?
Nearly 10,000 households in Japan found out the answer on Wednesday when a single snake found its way into the Tohoku Electric Power station and caused an outage that lasted an hour. The snake connected with a live wire while searching for shade, according to Japan Today News, causing a safety shutdown at around 2 pm.
Although residents were surely uncomfortable without A/C on a hot summer day, JTN said plenty of folks expressed sympathy for the dearly departed serpent on social media.
“Rest in peace, snake,” one comment that JTN translated reads.
“Poor snake!” another online reader apparently said. “The company should apologize and compensate its family.”
Some commenters were surely being a little sarcastic, but it’s no joke that animals have a big impact on human infrastructure.
Previous news reports from Japan say “excessive” dog pee caused a traffic light to collapse in 2021, and in 2013 bird poop disabled 25,000 traffic signals. It’s not just in Japan, either. Experts said this week that electrocuted birds catch fire and fall to the ground, igniting wildfires that demolish homes and acres of land.
Humans as a species have been building homes and infrastructure for thousands of years — you’d think we’d have learned how to co-exist with our animal neighbors just a little better by now.