by Robyn Justo — ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Well it surely wasn’t Christmas. It was the day before my birthday in October and something WAS stirring!
After putting off getting new windshield wiper blades for months thinking there really was no need because we had no rain, I finally went to the car parts store and picked up a pair.
The clerk was kind enough to install them and then opened the hood to refill the wiper fluid which had mysteriously and quite suddenly run dry.
We both jumped back with a start at the sight of a huge pile of branches, leaves, and bits of insulation from the underside of my hood, otherwise known as an enormous nest, a veritable rodent condominium complex.
I stood there in utter shock. The girth of some of the branches indicated that this might be a very large rodent or possibly a squirrel. How in the world could it carry those things up a tire and under the hood? Was he steroidal or worse yet, rabid? Was there more than one? I did recall cringing after seeing something with a tail scamper under my front porch not too long before.
The clerk took the nest away and made an attempt to fill the wiper fluid to no avail as it appeared that the culprit had chewed the tubing to the container. He also gnawed the wiring to my blinkers, lights and horn. Good thing my engine didn’t catch fire
A friend asked, “Awwww. Were there babies??” which added to my mounting guilt about the destruction of another creature’s home.
“NO babies!” I said, as I imagined the local rat pack colony raising their little rat fists in the air and chanting, “WE WILL REBUILD!”
Another friend asked me if they rode along with me. How the hell did I know? I didn’t see any little rat seat belts. The Toyota service guy told me that they could get IN my car in places and urged me to get a rodent guard. Was that someone who stood beside my car at night? Hired! Turns out it’s a screen of some sort, but not guaranteed to work.
So now I was petrified of small, angry, possibly rabid, hitchhiking, teeth baring creatures plotting revenge against their destroyer.
I called my landlord and to my chagrin, he informed me that this had happened to the prior tenant. Would have been nice to have known this so that I could have taken precautions or moved elsewhere. He thought that the rats only ate VW wires because they were soy. So they have a dietary and nutritional preference? Did it matter if it was GMO? Whatever Toyota used for their wiring must have been very appetizing because my Matrix was now a smorgasbord.
My landlord was very sorry and put a Havahart cage out on the side of my car to try to catch the Galloping Gourmet.
The next morning the cage was full, but not with the perp. Pepe le Pew was not happy and paced the cage with an angry face. My landlord was attempting to toss a towel over the cage to settle him down, but you can guess the rest. Pepe did NOT have a heart and did his business straight in the direction of my landlord.
Two days later something told me to check under the hood again and there was something resembling a peace offering (or so I thought). It looked like a Christmas wreath, but on closer inspection it was the start of yet another nest. I closed the hood and let my landlord open it up later and steroidal Willard jumped out at him and he almost did his own Pepe business right then and there.
Later that week while my car was being serviced and inspected, they found another basketball sized nest behind the dash of my car. Oh man! I was being invaded!
Should I e-rat-icate them? I opted for peppermint spray for the tires (they supposedly don’t like this) and sonar to hurt their little rat ears. I have a heart too, but I’m not opposed to deterrents.
The comedians (mechanics and service dudes) at Toyota suggested I stop by the animal shelter on the way home and grab a cat. I just shook my head, but secretly wished I had one.
The next day I was inside packing to move. The rat(s) had succeeded in destroying my peaceful abode and now I guess we were even. I heard a strange squeaky noise outside and went to look. Was it that little varmint?
There was a very (I mean VERY) large cat casually sauntering away from my porch.
“What ARE you?” I asked, like the cat could respond. He turned his head slowly to look at me and then continued on towards the woods. I swear I could read his big cat mind.
“You needed a cat. You called, I answered.” Said by a true rodent guard!
Indeed I did. Oddly enough, I was informed that in the 30-plus years that the owner had this property never had they laid eyes on a bobcat there. Did he get that dirty rat? Perhaps. Guess I’ll never know now.
I suppose nature has its ways. When there is no rain, critters come down from the woods and make their homes where they can and that is sometimes under or in your car. Engines are warm and cozy. If you don’t care to share your wheels, you can pepper-mint spray your tires and sonarize your car, or you can ask Santa to send a big cat to do the job.
To all a good night!