Internet and cellphone coverage was knocked out for a time up north in Taos last week. Some 1,800 Internet users and an unknown number of phone users were denied service for 20 hours before the break in the fiber cable between the city and I-25 could be repaired.

CenturyLink, the owner of the cable (and a DSL provider for SWCP), later announced that the culprit was… a beaver. Contractors had found the critter’s teeth marks on the severed cable.

While animal interference with computing is well known – the first computer “bug” was an actual bug – this may be the first time ever a rodent of such unusual size has caused an Internet outage. In times of severe drought such as these, New Mexico often faces a number of hungry bears coming down out the mountains (some good advice here). But despite their penchant for trees and telephone poles (and the occasional granny), the bears must not like the taste of fiber-optics cable. Decimated by hunting, lured into town by the sweet smells of fruit and garbage and killed, our state symbols have enough problems already.

Hopefully, this was just an accident that happened when the beaver was looking for yummy roots and not the beginning of some horrific animal uprising against us and our machines.