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Nature & Environment

Animals can see UV flashes from power lines

By T.K. Randall
March 13, 2014 · Comment icon 12 comments

Power lines are disturbing wildlife. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Tim
Scientists believe that animals are being frightened away from areas around high voltage power cables.
An international study in to the ultra-violet sensitivity of different animal species has revealed that many could be staying away from areas around power lines because they are being scared off by flashes that occur when charge builds up in the cables and is released in to the air.

Researchers first investigated the phenomenon in an effort to explain why reindeer tended to avoid power lines in the Arctic Tundra when there seemed to be no reason for them to do so.
"It has always been assumed that power lines - masts and the cables strung between them - were passive structures standing immobile in the terrain, and therefore inoffensive for animals," said co-author Dr Nicholas Tyler.

"As a result of this work, we now consider them as chains of flashing light stretching across the tundra in the winter darkness, and that's why the animals find them so offensive."

Source: BBC News | Comments (12)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by FLOMBIE 10 years ago
But they do look up - for many other reasons.
Comment icon #4 Posted by 6.6.6 10 years ago
Two comments. One, this would seem to be a good thing. Keeping animals away from the power lines. Two, large animals like deer don't have any reason to look up. Animals look for predators on the level where they come from. No air predators for deer. Seeing eye dogs have to be trained to look up so they don't lead their master into tailgates or other such things. They would only be required to look up if they were directly under them! Even being 100 yards or so either side would be enough for the power lines to come into the natural line of sight
Comment icon #5 Posted by msmike1 10 years ago
I have killed many white tailed deer on power line openings. Doesn't seem to bother them at all. Mike
Comment icon #6 Posted by GreenmansGod 10 years ago
I have killed many white tailed deer on power line openings. Doesn't seem to bother them at all. Mike But they aren't an open plains migrating animal, either. Each type of deer have their own set of needs.
Comment icon #7 Posted by moonshadow60 10 years ago
Sometimes you can hear the electrical wires "singing" as well. That would keep me far from the area if I was an animal as they have much better hearing than we do.
Comment icon #8 Posted by coldethyl 10 years ago
Yes if we hear them imagine what it must sound like to an animal.
Comment icon #9 Posted by danielost 10 years ago
There is a large UV display at both ends of the planet, the arouse.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 10 years ago
There is a large UV display at both ends of the planet, the arouse. I am also aroused by the auroras.....
Comment icon #11 Posted by danielost 10 years ago
But they aren't an open plains migrating animal, either. Each type of deer have their own set of needs. All deer migrate some a few miles others thousands of miles. The reindeer have to put up with mother natures UV flashes. If it keeps them away from something dangeress this would be a good thing. Birds perch on the lines all the time. Here in Waco in the winter the power lines are covered with wintering birds.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sundew 10 years ago
Two comments. One, this would seem to be a good thing. Keeping animals away from the power lines. Two, large animals like deer don't have any reason to look up. Animals look for predators on the level where they come from. No air predators for deer. Seeing eye dogs have to be trained to look up so they don't lead their master into tailgates or other such things. Deer like Whitetail range over a huge area and they do have the occasional aerial predator like the Golden Eagle, and Cougar and Jaguar might ambush them from trees as well.


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