Many people have heard that rats and mice can nest within cars where they inflict damage to the engine, usually the battery and electrical wiring. However, at it happens, finding entire families of squirrels, raccoons, or opossums within your car is not uncommon. Wild animals often turn to vehicles as a form of shelter during the winter. Most of the time, wild animals are found under the front hood in the engine, but they are also found within trunks and even within the seated passenger compartment. The damage these animals inflict to vehicles is almost always expensive, but in some cases, the damage can be dangerous. For example, one man, Eric Steinfeld, had to make an emergency stop while driving after he found smoke rising from his engine. Within a few short minutes, the car was engulfed in flames. As it turned out, the fire started as the result of rat-inflicted damage to the car’s electrical wiring. Sometimes, the danger can come from the animals themselves, as one man was forced to kill a raccoon that attacked him while he was working on his car engine, and another man woke one morning to find a defensive raccoon mother defending her offspring that she had birthed within his car. Besides shelter, what attracts wild animals to vehicles in the first place?
In many cases, animals are not attracted to vehicles; instead, they are attracted to the fast food that piles up within some people’s vehicles. Obviously, maintaining a clean car will help to prevent animals from accessing vehicles. But why would wild animals be attracted to engines where they are often found nesting? In these cases, the invading animals may have been drawn water leaks or moisture buildup within the engine. A leak in the water heater, or pure water contained within a coolant tank can draw thirsty animals to an engine. Animals are also drawn to the heat emitted by engines, so checking under your hood regularly may not be a bad idea. Making sure your car is free from entry points that can be accessed by small rodents is essential. Parking a car in a garage may make animal pest infestations within a car more likely if there exists anything in the garage that would attract animals, such as full garbage cans. Of course, a garage is always at risk of becoming infested with pests, as garages make for easy and convenient forms of shelter for wild animals.
Have you ever found a wild animal within the passenger area of your, or someone else’s vehicle?