The current COVID pandemic is causing more than just health problems for humans, as it seems our cars are also in serious danger right now. In fact, if you are reading this, you should probably go out and check your car engine for any living or dead rats. Rats have a strange attraction to car engines, and are known for taking up residence in those engines. Anecdotal reports suggest that right now this phenomenon is occurring with greater frequency. What is causing rats to abandon their usual haunts in mass and relocate the engine of your car, though?
The thing that draws rats to settle in car engines is their similarity to rats’ ancestral homes. Specifically, they recreate the feeling of a warm, dark, underground burrow in close proximity to easily accessed chewable roots. The wiring in an engine provides a perfect system of “surrogate roots.” Rats don’t chew on them for any kind of nutrients, though, but more for a feeling of comfort. Since their teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, rats have to constantly chew and gnaw on things to file them down and keep them from growing too long, making eating and drinking difficult, and in serious cases lead to the death of the rat.
The reason they are inhabiting car engines more frequently right now is due to the disruption of rats’ usual harborages and sources of food caused by the distancing and quarantine efforts happening because of the current pandemic. Many rats rely on the garbage they find outside of restaurants that are no longer serving food because they are currently closed. With these usual sites for harborages and food drying up, rats are forced to migrate farther from their usual location to find adequate food and shelter. They are all moving to areas where there is more food available and less competition for that food and shelter. These urban rats are now moving into suburban areas where they settle down in car engines, among other areas near or inside your home. People are also not using their cars as often right now, leaving more opportunities for rats to take residence in them. It is a good idea to regularly check your car engine for rats or signs of rats such as urine or feces, as well as starting it and moving it from time to time.
Have you spotted a rat/s in your car engine or anywhere else near or inside your home recently?