Before You Drive Off, Check for Koalas (and Other Critters) in Your Vehicle
Seeking warmth when cold is a natural instinct. Humans will bundle up with heavy clothes, gloves, and scarves while outside and hunker down inside as soon as possible. Animals will infiltrate warmer shelter at all costs, too. From garages to sheds and even your car’s engine and under the hood, mice, rats, kittens, rabbits and koalas will hunt out a comfortable nest in any warm place—danger be ignored.
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Yes, that sentence did say koala—it’s not a typo. But, in all fairness, unless you live in Australia, the chance of these adorable marsupials taking up residence in your car’s engine is unlikely. But, if you do live in Australia—heads up, because these furry little creatures can be tenacious when it comes to finding a hiding/resting place.
As reported by Nicola Slawson, writer for The Guardian, “A koala survived a 16km (10 mile) trip clinging to the axle of a four-wheel drive vehicle before the driver stopped and heard the cries of the traumatized animal.”
Slawson reported that the female koala was in the wheel arch of the vehicle and was freed by the combined efforts of the fire brigade and a wildlife rescue worker, Jane Brister of Fauna Rescue, who fed the rescued koala for about two days before returning it to its wild home.
A more domesticated type of animal—kittens—has also recently made the news for its stowaway powers.
According to Slawson, “Earlier this week, three kittens remarkably survived a 311 mile journey stowed away under the bonnet of a car after hitching a ride from the Netherlands to the UK.”
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These animal rescue stories are definitely a good reminder, especially now that fall is underway with winter close behind, for drivers to thoroughly check their vehicles for furry critters before hitting the road.
To prevent critters from making a home out of your vehicle in the first place, Autoblog.com writer Stan Markuze recommends drivers park in a garage as much as possible, put dryer sheets and mothballs strategically in your car (the smell should deter rodents), and to cover your tailpipe with masking tape when not in use. If you have to park outside, Markuze suggests setting up mouse traps on the floor of your car and in your engine compartment.
“You can use various types of bait to attract the animal, then just nab the culprits in the morning. Spending a few bucks on mouse traps will be much cheaper than replacing a wiring harness,” reports Markuze.