Everyone has heard the urban legends and stories from friends of friends about finding live animals somewhere in the car. From kittens in engine bays to mice in the seats, nature vs. car is a tale nearly as old as automobiles themselves.
Did you see this one? The owner of a Mazda in Eureka, Montana came outside to see their car apparently mauled by a mountain lion! After some research and witness accounts were collected, however, authorities determined it was actually a few neighboring domestic dogs that caused all this damage in an attempt to get at a cat hiding in the engine compartment. While this case is a little extreme, it can be hard to deter cats and wild animals from making themselves at home in your engine compartment. If you live in a rural area and your car often sits for days at a time, it’s even harder! One thing you can do is make sure to open your hood regularly and inspect for signs that something is making a nest or causing damage to your car. Check hoses, lines, and wires for signs of nibbles or scratches. Make sure you also check any dry plastic boxes, such as your air filter box, for signs of entry. These warm compartments make inviting homes for rodents. If you see signs of life in your engine bay, be sure to replace any damaged components and try and block off animal access to your car as much as possible. This can mean moving it to a garage, out from under a tree or placing traps around your usual parking area. Filters can also make great rodent chew toys! What about this story? Two people were on a road trip and hit a coyote. They assumed they’d killed it because of the speed of impact, so they drove on for over 8 hours before checking the bumper for damage. When they did, they were shocked to see that the coyote had become embedded behind the bumper of their car and was alive and relatively unharmed! The coyote was seen by wildlife specialists and made its way back into the wild after it’s harrowing adventure. Hitting wildlife is a danger of roads nearly everywhere, but even more so when you’re traveling through less-inhabited areas. If you hit an animal while driving, you should always stop and survey the damage to your car. These drivers were lucky that the coyote didn’t further damage their vehicle, putting them at risk of a very nasty accident. Large and small animals can cause damage beyond dents and scuffs. They can throw off alignments, damage internal components and more. If you’ve hit an animal recently and aren’t sure if your car suffered any internal or component damage, schedule an appointment to have it checked out. Even in the city, animals and cars interact every day. From nests to accidents to freak events, pets, wildlife and rodents are often the cause of vehicle issues. Keep yourself safe on the road and watch out for how your car may be affected by nature!