Squirrels Under the Hood

OK, after 21 years living in the same house with the same yard and the same tall trees, a new scourge has appeared: squirrels getting under the hood of our cars and chewing the electrical wires that make the engine start and the car go forward.

Twice in a week I had a problem starting our cars, which led me to lift the hood to check the problem. What did I find? A mass of leaves and twigs on top of the engine block, evidence of nest-building, plus a chewed-up coil of small colored wires with some wires bitten through. Both times the cars had to go to the mechanic, once via a tow truck.

Checking the ‘net, I found this was not an unusual problem. Lots of pages of complaints by car-owners with various home remedies recommended: ground red pepper for the burn, cat litter spread on the driveway for the scent, mothballs and Fabreze spray for the odor also, battery-powered high frequency audio gadgets to post outside for sound deterrence (we used some of these in our attic and on the grape arbor with mixed results). So, I’m calling on the collective wisdom of our blog readers for suggestions short of building a garage and buying a pellet gun. We have trapped squirrels in the attic in the past, but there are simply too many outdoors to keep up with them. The South Common nearby is like a nature preserve, although the heavy traffic on Highland is known to take out a few gray runners.

Thanks in advance for the tips.

This is not my car, but an example of the kind of damage.

2 Responses to Squirrels Under the Hood

  1. Joe S says:

    I haven’t tried this, but it could be a fairly simple solution to the problem.

    Afix a rag to a pole (like and old broom or rake handle). Soak the rag with ammonia, and then slide it onto the ground underneath your engine compartment. The pole will let you get it under there without too much effort on your part, and retrieve it when you are moving the car or re-loading the rag.

    Also, if you have the option of relocating the car to a different spot that may help as it would seem like a new location to the squirrel, and one he may avoid due to the ammonia smell.