[UPDATE 6:08 p.m.] Whoops! Car Into Fire Hydrant Almost Drowns Little Critter

Video by Bobby Kroeker

A little before 4 p.m., a green Ford sedan ran over a fire hydrant at the Bayside Cutoff not far from Old Arcata Road. The hydrant is completely severed from its base.

A tow truck is in the area to remove the car. Please be careful as the fire department and towing are in the area and traffic is impacted.

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.: The driver was detained under suspicion of being DUI.

However, neighbors rallied around what one person described as a little woodrat (who knew they were so cute?) which had gotten flushed out by the water. [Note: our resident nature woman tells us that this is a Microtus californicus, a type of vole.]

The vole lost his home due to flooding and was eventually rescued by the Humboldt Wildlife Center 

UPDATE 6:08 p.m.: The rescue folks scooped up the vole and took him to their center.



  • There’s suppose to be an automatic shutoff valve underneath. Wonder what inspector inspected and tested that relief valve.

    • industrial disease

      Wet barrel vs. Dry barrel. Dry barrel is common where it freezes in winter. There is an actuator that opens the inlet valve at the hydrant base to introduce water to fight a fire. That type will not geyser. Wet barrel has the valves in the hydrant and will gush as shown n this picture.

    • Elric of Melniboné

      Must’ve snapped below the valve

  • that a small woodrat. the ones ive seen are at least four times that size

    • Commenter CanYouSmellThat? clarified that it is probably a muskrat, not a woodrat. I hope the little guy is alright now and is going to be returned to the same field!
      – Ramona, the nervous one with glasses

  • I don’t think that’s a woodrat …( Neotome Fuscipes)

    That’s more like a muskrat … Ondatra zibethicus

    If so, aren’t they semi-aquatic?
    Probably more scared than cold. Also, they’re nocturnal, so probably got disoriented to be so rudely awakened in daylight.
    They live in colonies.. so hopefully the wildlife rescue people would know to wait till dark, then put him back close to where he was so he can reorient with his peers.

    • Hello! Im the hella nervous girl in the last video! You’re right, that does look more like a muskrat. Poor guy was soaked and shivering! I’m sure the Wildlife Care Center will get him warm and dry and then return him to the same field! I’ve taken many injured animals there and they always try their best to return them to the place they were found.

  • Thanks for rescuing the critter. I think it’s a California vole, Microtus californicus. Cute anyway.

  • Microtus californicus

    • Dear esteemed colleague,

      We were both wrong. That critter was a Botta’s pocket gopher, according to Humboldt Wildlife Rescue.


      I’m inclined to believe them because they saw it up close, where as we were only looking at pictures.
      They said it was not injured; they dried and warmed it in an incubator and released it back where it was.

      (I’d still like to see a muskrat someday!)

  • Drove through there shortly after and it seemed chaotic. Cyclists were riding through, double wide instead of single file and distracted. A woman ran out across the street nearly in front of my front bumper to provide aid. I couldn’t see the “victim” but saw three people tending to a small tub which instantly led me to believe the “incident” involved a small animal.

    I thought an animal had been hit, but that wasn’t the case.

    I love animals, but I saw a lot of unnecessary risk being taken for the situation and a human could have easily been injured or killed as a result.

    Just keep the risk in perspective people. Live by this simple phrase: Risk vs. Gain.

    • You must have been rubber necking to if you saw the tub the animal was in. Maybe you should take your own advice because your eyes should have been on the road and not the accident. Always go very slow and keep your eyes on the road when passing an accident because there may be bicyclists or people darting in the road near accidents. Don’t rubber neck, it’s not safe nor polite as the victim of the wreck doesn’t deserve to be gawked at.

  • Wood rat is giant mouse,now homeless. Tastee.

  • i noticed that loco took the video from here and posted it on their website, and i was just wondering if they are allowed to do that

    • Unless something is copyrighted, is there any protection? And can one site claim rights to someone else’s work anyway? I don’t know the rules.

      • yeah i was just curious. maybe she gave them permission, i dont know. but are they allowed to make money off of someone elses reporting?

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