Wired varmin

Did you know there are rodents that will eat the wiring in your car? Eat may not be the right word. Chew may be closer to the truth. In either case, I’m a victim of such a creature. And I’m not alone. Dozens of folks at my office have suffered the same fate – some more than once.

I got off lucky though. I only spent a little over $200 fixing my car. I wasn’t even having any symptoms – other than the “check engine” light on my dashboard. I brought it in to be checked and my mechanic laughed before he told me what was wrong. How often is that a good sign?

“Well Mr Kauffman, it looks like you had yourself a critter problem. The critter got up in your engine and chewed on some of your wiring, so we fixed the wiring and de-crittered it. Odd thing though – we found a mess of peanut shells scattered around.”

And that’s how I knew. It was an office critter.

You see my office is set back from the highway, with a lot of trees and grass. It’s really quite pleasant – and unusual for Pinellas County. We have lots of squirrels and raccoons – and lots of people who like to feed them… you guessed it: peanuts. When I say we have squirrels and raccoons, I don’t mean a couple here and there. It’s more like dust-bowl jack-rabbits, or an Old Testament plague. They’re freaking everywhere, and we’re blaming the peanut people.

It may not be entirely their fault. Critters like warm places in the winter, even in Florida. Parked cars tend to be warm places to hide out. If this was only happening once or twice a year (chewed wiring incidents) I think I could hold my tongue. But it’s not. It’s a dozen or more cars every year. The air conditioning kept going out in our office. They found a nest of peanuts there too. (They didn’t say anything about fried critters – do they have some innate sense of electrical current?)

If witness a feeding again I might start picking up peanuts and throwing them back. Hard.


  1. You know, I’ve never seen a groundhog – outside a Bill Murray movie.

    We’ve only got a few ducks (are they fresh water fowl?), but there’s a danger there too. If the sea gulls caught on we’d have an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

  2. seriously? wild. tell them to feed the ducks.
    We once saw a stream of yellow liquid running out of our engine onto the drive. My dad opened the hood thinking it was a radiator leak or something, and saw two eyes staring at him. it was a groundhog..

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