Country remedies

I parked Ime on the grass inside the gate. I was basking in the glory of having off-street parking when my neighbour dropped by to warn me about the weavils. From what I gathered, they climb into the car, up into the engine, and do untold damage to the wiring. Sometimes, they even nest. A home from home, of sorts. At least this is how I translated the steady flow of Hungarian with the accompanying hand gestures.

careng4Her remedy appeared to involve water. I thought I understood but didn’t quite believe that she was suggesting putting two bowls of water in front of the car as this would magically deter them from moving in.

I googled weavils – they’re insects. So I revised my understanding and my translation to read weasels. That made more sense. I could see those furry animals looking for a warm place out of the cold (even though it was a lovely, sunny, 25 degrees in late September).

The next day, I awoke to find that she’d been a tad impatient or perhaps sensed that I (a) didn’t fully understand or (b) didn’t quite believe her remedy. Two 1.5-litre plastic bottles of water stood sentry in front of the car. Each to their own, I thought. I could humour her in the interests of good neighbourly relations.

Then, walking up the village later that day, I spotted another car parked in a garden, facing out to the street. It, too, had two bottles of water standing guard. And then I saw a third. It would seem that Hungarian weasels (into which I also read mice and other furry rodents) are afraid of bottled water. Interestingly, all bottles were the same brand. Perhaps the rodents can read.

I googled some more and there’s loads of stuff on the Net about home cures for wire-gnawing rodents. Everything from spraying the grass you park on with rat pee (and yes, you can buy this … in Germany anyway) to spraying the wires with hot pepper spray.

Another site suggested stretching chicken wire tightly over a frame and laying this under your car as apparently squirrels (and presumably other such animals) don’t like walking on mesh.

In the area of Southern Germany where I live the culprits are usual members of the marten family. Here some people solve the problem by placing a wooden frame covered in stretched chicken wire under the motor compartment of the car when its parked. Apparently the beast don’t like to walk on the chicken wire and so don’t climb into the engine compartment.

Marders are a particular problem in Switzerland apparently. There you can insure your car against marder damage. One contributor to a forum swears it works:

You can also insure your car against Marder damage. Since I have insured my car the Marder has never come back.

careng3Now, I’ve been driving for years. I’ve lived in some wild and wonderful places teeming with all sorts of wildlife and never once have I even heard of this phenomenon. But as sure as shinola, now that I know about it, it’ll happen. I’ve heard tell of devices you can fit to the front grid that emit a high-pitched noise that scares them away. But what if it drives all the dogs in the ‘hood mad? There’s another that has a strobe light. But that might scare away the fox and the deer. For the minute, I think I’ll stick to the water bottles. Unless anyone has any other bright ideas?

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6 Responses

  1. I’ve had mouse damage – the little creatures nested under the back seat, on top of the tank, and damaged the wire leading from the petrol pump to the instrument panel. So now I have a permanent fault indicated and occasional wild fluctuations of the dashboard fuel-level indicator!! Not easy to get this fixed.

      1. I’ve no idea about time-scale. Perhaps an under-car mouse-trap would do the trick. By the way, do you mean ‘Íme’ or ‘Imre’? One must get it right! Mine is ‘Fehérke’.

  2. I’ve actually had Marder damage on a car in Switzerland once. Luckily I was covered through my insurance policy (so no, that by itself doesn’t necessarily protect your car miraculously ;-)) so the damage was paid for. What most certainly protected me afterwards was the measures my mechanic took: He wrapped all exposed cables in tubes. Never had the problem after that. From what I understand, newer cars are less prone to damage as cables and wholes under the car are closed off better but I wouldn’t depend on it.

  3. Here we have a problem with birds creating nests under car bonnets, they build quickly and the next time the owner starts up the car the nest catches fire :-(……..some people leave their bonnets open over night during the nesting season.

    BTW ……I wonder who might have the best ideas on how to deal with a country rodent problem, the country person who has lived in the area all their life or the person who lives in the city? Living in the country I have noticed that country folks are generally helpful to new members of the community ( even city people) but this can soon change if they think that the city people are taking the p**s 🙂

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