It’s not a myth – rats have acquired a taste for Australian cars.
ABC Radio Melbourne hit a nerve this morning when it spoke to Sandy from Ballarat, who rang up to tell listeners she’d just spent more than $3000 fixing her car.
She said rats had eaten parts of it, and her mechanic told her it was because in the shift away from oil-based products, manufacturers were starting to use soy-based products to protect wiring looms in cars.
David Dowsey from the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce wasn’t so sure it was a big problem.
“From what we know, most of that is occurring overseas, not so much in the Australian carpark,” he told ABC Radio.
But the calls came in from around the country.
“My Kia’s wiring was eaten by rats two years ago,” Maria, from Fryerstown said. “It cost just under $8,000 to replace because modern wiring involves a whole new wiring loom.”
Jack, from Moolap, had to “completely replace the wiring loom on my car because rats had eaten enough to cause my car to stop running”.
And happily, I didn’t need to do a dreaded ring-around of grumpy autoelectricians in Launceston with better things to do to prove the problem is real, all over Australia.
I’ve been fighting car-eating rats for a year now:
That was my wiper hose!
I’ve moved the “spare car” from garage to outdoor spot to shed and back outside again several times.
I found the nest early and ripped it out, deodorised because rat pee is pretty overwhelming and lost a couple of baits.
But they come back and, bit by bit, rats are slowly eating my car.
It’s fairly obvious who the perpetrators are:
And the interior damage is more likely to be for nesting material, rather than food:
But a couple of weeks ago, when I showed my next door neighbour the damage under the bonnet, he just nodded and said they’ll “go for the vegetable oil in the plastic these days”.
Look. They’re having a great time slowly digesting the soundproofing stuff around the rim:
Thank you, Sandy from Ballarat. I thought I was the only one.
I can deal with the fluffy bits of my car being attractive for keeping warm through the Tasmanian winters. There are plenty of alternatives that rats can be steered toward, surely.
But what can you do when they realise your car is edible? Who wouldn’t choose to live in a safe house that you can also eat?
This is a whole new ball game.
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