Buffalo Butt

American buffalo viewed phone poles as giant backscratchers, and took down much of the early infrastructure.

Today, we blame dropped calls on spotty coverage from our service providers and the insufficient battery lives of our phones, but early settlers in the West had to deal with an even more maddening culprit: buffalo looking to scratch their butt.

At the same time telephone technology was making cross-country communication possible, its infrastructure was providing a public service to American buffalo. The buffalo's enthusiasm for scratching against the telephone poles was so vigorous that many were toppled down, unable to stand up to the brute force of a 2,000 pound beast. As it turns out, buffalo have itches to scratch, too. Without adequate limb flexibility, the buffalo needed to get creative, and so down went the phone poles.

In an attempt to save the poles, the phone companies installed spikes along them. But, the plan backfired. The spikes only made the poles more appealing, causing buffalo to fight over pole time.


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