In prepping for pub trivia each week, I find nuggets of information that bring a chuckle. This is one.

In our 21st-century, high-tech lifestyle, emergency preparedness experts have warned of a possible cyber-attack that could shut down vast swaths of the electrical grid. Cities, counties, states and even regions of the country can suddenly go dark.

Turns out the most common culprit, according to the authorities, is the animal family of Sciuridae.

In other words, the squirrels.

Those delightful little critters, those cute emissaries from the natural world, are the unwitting infiltrators and saboteurs of the power infrastructure. Who knew? Perhaps they have become suicide nibblers into cables and equipment, flash-frying themselves and sending the humans to look for candles.

A 2016 article from even included a quote from a former deputy director with Homeland Security: "I don't think paralysis [of the electrical grid] is more likely by cyberattack than by natural disaster. And, frankly, the No. 1 threat experienced to date by the US electrical grid is squirrels."

The author, Violet Blue, had the chuckling quote in the same piece: "...hackers have nothing on the leet haxor skillz of those bushy-tailed little acorn-hoarding bas#%&*s"

So the next time the lights go out and your computer goes dead, don't conspire about international cyber-attacks. Just light a candle, shelter in place, wrap up in a blanket, and enjoy a good book. And maybe thank a squirrel for giving their all for a little peace and quiet.

More From KBUL NEWS TALK 970 AM & 103.3 FM