Geek Trivia

Which Animal Is Frequently Used To Pull Cables In Tight Spaces?

With The Y2K Problem Behind Us, We Now Need To Worry About What?

Answer: Ferrets

Running cable in tight spaces has long posed a problem for designers and engineers in a wide variety of fields. The human arm is only so small and so flexible, metal wire snakes can only handle so many bends and snag frequently, and in many installations it’s impossible to put the wire in ahead of time or take apart the structure later to more easily place it.

In such instances we’ve long called on a fast, intelligent, and furry friend to help draw cables through difficult to reach spaces. For over a century ferrets have been employed as cable carriers in all manner of locations inaccessible to humans.

In World War II, engineers at Offutt Air Force Base used ferrets to run cables inside the B-26 and B-29 flying fortresses. In the summer of 1981 when Lady Diana married Prince Charles, ferrets were employed to run cables for television and radio broadcasts through the walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral in order to preserve the historic architecture. Ferrets again saved the day in London when, in 1999, they helped run miles of cable for the massive London Millennium Concert.

Despite advances in micro-robotics and other technological solutions to the cable-pulling problem, ferrets continue to serve as economical and easy to deploy solutions in a variety of settings.