There’s something weird going on with the wildlife on the British Isles. Remember how their squirrels were destroying local homes? Well, now their foxes are eating their cars. No kidding, foxes in southern England have apparently developed a taste for automobiles. Instead of wanting to drive them, though, they’re devouring vital components. Specifically, the Raynards and Vixens are chowing down on all-important cabling on the vehicles’ undercarriage. They seem to have a particular fondness for brake lines, but any other kind of wires make for yummy snacks as well. The damage hasn’t just cost U.K. drivers hundreds of thousands in repair bills. The foxes have also caused dangerous accidents when people have taken to the roads without realizing their brakes no longer work. The foxes-eating-cars epidemic seems to be centered around southern London suburbs. Already in 2009, police in the southern county of Kent warned drivers to check their cars’ wires and test their brakes before driving. The warning came in the aftermath of multiple crashes caused by chewed-through brake lines.
Incensed by the marauding beasts, motorists have resorted to many different tricks and traps to keep the foxes away. Sadly, none of them seem to work very well. They’ve applied various pest sprays to the cars, but foxes don’t appear to find them particularly repellent. Ultrasonic alarms and brightly flashing animal deterrents have worked for a while, but the foxes quickly realize that the irritating devices can’t actually hurt them. Drivers have also tried coating their cars’ cables in various foul-tasting substances, from engine grease to hot sauce. They have even built wooden dams they push under their cars at night to keep the critters out as in the picture above. With few options left, people have resorted to wrapping good old chicken wire around their cars. If it keeps a fox out of the chicken coop, it should keep it away from a car, too. It’s a hassle to constantly have to take the fencing or the chicken wire off and put it back on, not to mention the potential scrapes and scratches on the paint. But I suppose it’s better than having to get your brake lines repaired — again.
The little animals have been squeezed out of their natural living space as suburbs have grown, but the real attraction for them is the smell of sugar in the newer cars’ electrical insulation. Most modern cars and apparently brake lines are made of a soy based plastic that smells and tastes like sugar, so these human familiar snackers now know what to look for. So far there is no solution other than locking your car up in a garage or a chicken wire wrap.
Anne meets up with Dana while she is picking up her car from the mechanic.
Anne asks, “Everything ok with your car now?”
Dana replies, “Yes, thank goodness. I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off, so I was relieved when he told me all I needed was $12 worth of blinker fluid.”
One rainy evening my husband Carey and I emerged from a restaurant only to find we had locked the keys in the car. He insisted he could open it with a wire coat hanger. He went back to the restaurant to get one, but there were none to be found. Then he ran into a department store a quarter-mile away and returned with a hanger. After a few attempts, he got the door open and we climbed in. As we sat there cold and soaked, Carey stuck to hanger under seat with a smug grin he said, “If this happens again, I’ll have one.”
I’ve had the ABS function activated on my car for years, but my gut is as big as ever.
As a dispatcher for a tow truck company, I got a call from a woman who had gotten her wheel stuck in an open manhole. “Will it be long before you get here”, she asked. “Is it an emergency,” I asked. “Well,” she sheepishly replied, “there is a man down there and he can’t get out.”
October 13th Birthdays
1968 – Kate Walsh, 1959 – Marie Osmond, 1965 – Harris Faulkner, 1925 – Margaret Thatcher
1941 – Paul Simon, 1962 – Jerry Rice, 1992 – Diego Dominguez, 1985 – Brian Hoyer