Spring is a busy time for squirrels. They are building nests to prepare for having babies and searching out food to stash away for when they need it and keep it away from competitors.
One Michigan man recently discovered the squirrels in his neighborhood had been very busy using his car as a food bank.
Kellen Moore’s engine had been making weird noises when he switched on the air conditioning so he went to take a look. He opened the hood of his car and discovered a squirrel (or squirrels) stashed more than 50 pounds of pine cones throughout his car engine!
Gabe Awrey snapped a picture of the squirrel’s handiwork when Moore invited him to to take a look while they were at work. He shared the photo on Facebook along with the warning to car owners, “Remember to check your engine bays this time of year! The squirrels are sneaky. This was my friend’s car today!”
“Literally every free space in that engine bay was FILLED,” Awrey wrote on Facebook. “The heat from the engine opened all of these bad boys up too, making them lodged in some places.”
They spent the next 45 minutes removing the sticky pine cones from the car’s engine bay.
Moore joked afterwards that he would be “spending the night in my car, parked in the driveway tonight…I’m going to strangle that squirrel with my bare hands.”
But in all seriousness, Awrey and Moore’s advice is to check under your hood more frequently this time of year if you are in an area with lots of squirrels.
Awrey’s post prompted others to share their squirrel misadventures.
Colleen Crannell commented on Facebook that squirrels favored her CRV and were continually building “nests under the hood, they were chewing up my wiring harness and other parts mad w/eco friendly ‘soy based parts’. Got rid of the CRV after the 3rd trip to shop, got a new Hyundai and 2 weeks after owning that this winter I came out one day to find it wouldn’t start. Opened the hood and there was a HUGE nest and major chewing done all in one day!!”
David Rea had a similar experience to Moore and shared “Been there, done that.”Been there, done that…this is ONE HALF of the pine cones…Ford dealer took out other half and put mothballs in engine compartment.”
There are ways to discourage squirrels from using a vehicle as a secret stash hideaway. Rea mentioned using mothballs. But other ways including humane harassment, especially if you have a mother nesting. The Toronto Wildlife Center recommends the following:
- Place a bright light under the hood of the car. Tune a radio to a talk station and place it under the hood of the car (not music, human voices).
- Soak rags in apple cider vinegar or ammonia and put them in a plastic bag. Poke holes in the bag and hang it under the hood of your car. Dirty kitty litter will also be effective.
- Do this for at least 3 days and 3 nights. That will allow the mother squirrel to move her babies and leave the nest.
- Trapping and relocating squirrels doesn’t really work because they are territorial and usually results in the squirrels dying.
As for Moore’s car? Thankfully, after Moore and Awrey removed all the cones, the car still runs just fine.