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Swedish beaver knocks out power for thousands

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Swedish beaver knocks out power for thousands
This is (probably) not the beaver mentioned in the story. Photo: AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
10:42 CEST+02:00
A spokesman for Sweden's state-owned energy provider has revealed the identity of the vandal behind a blackout which saw 15,000 Swedish homes left without power.

The households were without power for around an hour and 15 minutes on Monday evening after a beaver chewed through a tree which fell and took down an electricity wire in the Södertälje area – about 30 kilometres south-west of Stockholm.

“The little rascal. It is really something that should not be able to happen,” Peter Stedt, a spokesperson for Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, told The Local when the source of the problem was revealed on Wednesday.

Workers had already been busy clearing trees and branches in the area after an inspection of the 40-metre wide power line corridor in 2013 showed that they were at risk of falling on the wires – but the beaver got there first.

“Yes, but he felled in the wrong direction, so we're going to have to have a word with him,” joked Stedt.

“When trees and branches fall on transmission lines it is normally because of snow weighing them down or heavy wind. But beaver is a rather unusual cause. I think it has happened before, but it was a long time ago,” he said.

Another hungry beaver plunged up to one hundred households outside Motala in central Sweden into darkness after breaking a tree in half which fell on electricity wires in a similar incident back in 2004. The power cut lasted for about four and a half hours.

“We do work to clear these power line corridors, or to install the wires underground instead, but it is time-consuming work and Sweden is a big country – we're doing our best,” added Stedt.

IN PICTURES: Sweden's most dangerous animals

Beavers were hunted to extinction in Sweden by the end of the 19th century but were reintroduced during the 1920s and 1930s after 80 of the furry animals were imported from Norway, in what is often cited as one of the most successful animal conservation efforts in history.
 
The wood-loving, sharp-toothed, primarily nocturnal, semi-aquatic animals are the second largest rodents on the planet (after the capybara) and are most prevalent in North America.
 
As well as munching through wires, the sharp-toothed beasts have caused other troubles for Swedes in recent years.
 
In March, a man reported he was attacked by a beaver who ran up and bit him as he was waiting for the bus in Tyresö near the capital.
 
"I never thought that an animal that looks so clumsy could be so crafty," he said at the time.
 
In November 2013 drivers in central Sweden were left in a jam near Borensberg in Östergötland, after police blamed a beaver for felling a tree, which resulted in a blocked road and long queues of motorists.
 
Police were also called to help a homeowner deal with a wayward Swedish beaver that had found its way into a resident's garage in Nässjö in central Sweden in 2011.
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