I have been lucky in my years RVing to never suffer an infestation of rodents in my engine – until now. While camping on the Burnhardt Road just outside Rye, AZ., I was invaded by pack rats. I keep the engine hood open and put a light under the front end but it didn’t deter these little buggers.
One morning I peered down in the shadows of my motor and thought I could see some sticks and grass. I pulled the air cleaner out and sure enough the space under the alternator was full of sticks, mesquite pods, and prickly pair fruit. I removed everything I could reach with some tongs and packed up to get out of there.
I spent the night at Walmart in Payson, sure that I had left the pack rats behind in the desert. When I opened up the hood the next morning I saw a rat scurry back behind the engine. I couldn’t believe he could survive the drive of 20 miles the afternoon before. Not having any more options, I drove 80 miles down to Phoenix thinking the engine heat would make him drop out on the way.
After I parked at brother Daryl’s, I bought an electronic rat trap and some poison just in case he hitchhiked all the way down. The next morning the trap was empty but I could see where they were rebuilding the nest. I rebated the trap with peanut butter and offered a cup of poison for good measure. During the next night he wandered into the trap and met his demise.
I’m pretty sure he was the only one I brought down. I’m keeping the trap set just to make sure, but so far there has been no activity.
Today I pulled out the engine cowling that allows access to the back of the engine to see if there were any nest building that I couldn’t see. I was shocked to see sticks and pods and fruit jammed into the back of the compartment. There were even cow pies and dirt clods dragged into the space. I spent several hours digging and removing almost a bushel of debris. It must have taken them hundreds of trips to bring it all in.
One thing is for sure – I must be a heavy sleeper to have not heard the invasion. So far I have not found any damage. Rodents are known for getting in engines and chewing wires. They can do hundreds of dollars damage. I will have to be more careful from now on and make sure I’m protected from pesky varmints.