Mice in the Machine!

Take care if you are taking your car off the road for the winter! Two tales from members Ken Smith and Richard Walker.

Ken Smith: They were obviously of discerning taste as they chose the Jag over a Fiat Doblo and a Mini Cooper S, both of which were available. In a matter of three weeks they built their nest and laid in a stock of peanuts ready for the winter.

The nest was of luxurious construction, comprising insulation transferred from between the rear side trim panels and body shell, pieces selectively nibbled from a woollen blanket kept on the back seat and a carefully chewed-up Road Atlas which they located on the front passenger seat. They had chomped their way through Scotland, most of Wales and were heading towards London! You can see the top of the nest but it’s like an iceberg, most of it being down below in the wheel-well.

They were very industrious in gathering in their winter store. The peanuts weighed over 5Kg and must have been carried one or two at a time from within my workshop some twenty or so feet away from the car with only a tiny point of access under the door. They stole them from a sack of nuts (after chewing a hole in the sack) from which I fed the birds and I had been puzzled as to the rate at which they were being consumed.

I won’t go into the detail of how the blighters were persuaded to move on for fear of upsetting the Animal Rights (Field Mice) League, suffice to say that when they (or what was left of them) did go, they spitefully left behind an odour that took ages to disappear completely.

Except for the obvious (and the enduring pong) they did not appear to have done much damage. I have been unable to establish how they managed to get into the car, the doors being locked at all times! Even a close inspection within the engine bay and underneath the car (on a ramp) has failed to discover a means of entry.

I had previously bought a cheap (£5) Trouble Code Reader that I used as an initial check to establish that there were no faults being thrown up and that circuits analysed were, at least, still intact. Following that, each electrical function, lights, heater, air-con, horn etc. were checked individually and all were found to be fully functional.

Luckily, having built their nest and established a large stock of food close by, it appeared that the animals needed to look no further for a source of nutrition and had subsequently left the rest of the vehicle alone.

Living as I do out in the country I come across the relatives and descendants of the “XK mice” from time to time (they are at present ensconced in the compost heap) and they have assured me that they are comfortable where they are and will be making no additional territorial claims in the foreseeable future.

Richard Walker's story is very similar. The pictures show the underside of the plastic engine cover showing the stripping out of the insulation by the mice.

He also found a mouse nest behind the front driver wing, the void was full of chewed insulation.Sadly the mice had a go at his BMW as they’re not proud of country of origin in his part of the world.

All appears to be finally under control for Richard but advice by an expert is to keep provisions in place permanently, take out any foodstuffs, including bird seed, from the garage and try and seal easy access voids and openings within the curtilage of the garage.

You have been warned! Thanks to Ken Smith and Richard Walker.

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Club Charity:  RNLI