Rats making themselves at home in Texoma automobiles

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

SHERMAN, Tex. -- Some unwanted visitors are making their homes in people's cars. Rodents may see your vehicle as shelter from stormy weather.

When you lift up the hood of your car, it's pretty normal to see tubes and wires. But how about shingles and paintbrushes? Experts say those are remnants of rats making themselves at home.

"It was just a mess," Angela Tynan says, who had rats nest in her car.

When severe storms blew through western Grayson County, Tynan wanted her new Ford Fusion to be spared from softball-sized hail. She pulled her car into a shed for the night.

"The next morning I came to get my car out and when I drove it out, it was making a really weird noise."

She lifted the hood to find more than just belts and hoses.

"A huge nest where this rat had literally torn out all insulation, long twigs, there were acorns from wheel to wheel, paintbrushes, old shingles, leaves, you name it, it was all in the engine, and it managed to chew all the wires, and that's why the car wouldn't run."

Apparently, Angela isn't alone.

In the Blake Utter Ford service department, workers say they have seen at least one car every day for the past couple weeks with similar problems, more this year than in the past.

"I think we just run them out of the home. They're used to being in, so they're coming to look for a dry, warm place to sleep at night and while they're there they tend to want to build a nest out of the stuff that's under our cars hoods," service manager Steve Garner says.

Garner says usually the damage runs about a couple hundred dollars. Angela says the rodents did about $1,500 dollars worth of damage to her car, and she doesn't know if her insurance will cover it.

"It’s not a pile of junk. It's very wide open, and you wouldn't think just overnight a packrat could do that much damage."

Experts say this is more common if people live in the country than in urban areas.

As far as prevention goes, having an outdoor cat is one method or putting out traps as long as your pets do not eat the bait.

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  • by MadRatter Location: Sherman on Apr 22, 2008 at 07:50 AM
    Yes, this is newsworthy! People saying otherwise have obviously not gone out to start their car only to find it won't start because the fuel line's been chewed through and the gas tank that was full last night is now empty, or every wire under the hood has been chewed off and neatly threaded into a nest on top of the engine. Have you priced copper lately? Wiring ain't cheap! The rat damage done to my family's vehicles in the last three months has cost almost $3,000 to repair. That's a lot of cash to have to come up with over a very short period of time. If hundreds of people have had similar experiences, that's a huge impact on the local economy! The mechanics said they've seen more rat damage this year than they ever have before, but had no suggestions on how to stop it. By the way, I would NOT recommend using rat poison if you have outdoor pets or small children that can get into it or that may eat a rat that has ingested the poison. Hope I didn't sound like too much of a hick!
  • by Jessica Location: Sherman on Apr 21, 2008 at 09:47 AM
    Hey Jan, Thanks for the Peppermint idea, we had a pack rat do about $350.00 dollars to our Explorer not to long ago and someone suggest Fox urine. Just so you know it doesn't work. We got some outside cats instead, hoping I am not feeding the coyotes. Maybe it was considered news worthy so people would check under there hood before a lot of damage is done.
  • by HERE Location: GONE on Apr 21, 2008 at 09:33 AM
    Yes RAts can make a nest over night and in a couple of hours they work faster then the american people do lol
  • by AliceIn Location: Wonderland on Apr 21, 2008 at 09:21 AM
    Of course, I've heard of freedom of speech. It's what allows everyone to be able to speak their mind, including idiots and those who slaughter the English language with slang instead of proper English...
  • by nonya Location: business on Apr 20, 2008 at 08:20 PM
    cuz when I'm a watchin it on tha news aint nothing i can do to avoid the stupid "news story" so I log myself on tha internet and speak my opinion about how it aint a news story. ever heard of free speech?
  • by Terry Location: Little D on Apr 20, 2008 at 05:57 AM
    I guess all you complaining about this not being news would rather read about all the killing, perversion, drugs, and the election coverage.
  • by Shaelyn on Apr 19, 2008 at 06:16 PM
    Butch...........I'd rather have pooping birds than rats. The rats cause more damaged than the birds. Yes it is news, I didn't know about using moth balls or peppermint extract.
  • by ratfink Location: fink on Apr 19, 2008 at 02:58 AM
    Oh rats
  • by citizen Location: sherman on Apr 19, 2008 at 12:28 AM
    For all of you who think this story was not news-worthy, well, I'm curious. Why then, did you take the time to read the story, and then take the time to comment? Seems to me if a story is on the news, and it gets your attention, and you read it, and then you comment about what you read, well, that makes it a news-worthy story. If not, why would you read it to start with?
  • by AliceIn Location: Wonderland on Apr 18, 2008 at 09:37 PM
    You can spread moth balls around storage sheds and barns, they keep away not only the rats and mice, but snakes as well.
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