Whether they are looking for warmth in winter or just taking advantage of a vehicle that is parked for a few weeks, animals are sometimes drawn to nest inside a car. The engine compartment is a popular spot, due to the easy access from below. They may also build a nest inside the wheel wells, or worse, find a way into the trunk or the car itself. The following guide can help you prevent this problem, or at least solve it if it does occur.
Which Animals Commonly Nest In Cars?
Any animal that needs warmth can be attracted to a recently driven but parked car, but some animals are drawn to the safety of the car even in warm months. In winter, squirrels, racoons, rodents, and even neighborhood cats may crawl up into the engine compartment. Smaller rodents may also make their way into the trunk or car proper. They usually use the drainage holes in the floor boards or access, after chewing through the carpet.
How Do You Know When An Animal Is In the Car?
Sometimes it's obvious – your car won't start because squirrels chewed through the wires or you open up your glove box and a mouse is staring back at you. On cold winter nights, though, the animals may only be sheltering under the hood temporarily. This is especially the case with cats and other animals that are active in winter. A good habit to have is to thump on your hood several times before starting your car. This will startle any animals so they flee before you turn the ignition.
Is It Possible to Keep the Animals Out?
The easiest way to keep animals out of your car is to park in a garage that is sturdy enough that animals haven't also moved into it. If this isn't possible, a combination of traps and repellents may work. You can use catch-and-release traps, especially if cats are the issue. Select traps appropriate for the type of animal invading your car, and then place these around the car in the evening.
There are also commercial repellents available that work on rodents. The odor of moth balls or dryer sheets will also sometimes repel small animals. Also, don't keep anything that may attract the animals in the car, like food.
What Should You Do If An Animal Is Already In the Car?
If the animal flees when you show up, simply put on pair of gloves and clear out the nest. If it is somewhere that may have caused damage to the car, it's a good idea to have your mechanic check it out before you drive the car very far. If the animal won't flee or if it keeps returning, you will need to contact a local pest control company. They can remove the pests so they won't keep invading your vehicle.
For more information, contact IPM - Intelligent Pest Management or a similar company.