Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trouble in Paradise


A couple days after we arrived in Poncha Springs, Jim found the beginnings of a rodent nest under the hood of the car. We weren’t sure if they had started building it while we were at Curecanti NRA near Gunnison, or if the culprits were working on it here on our mesa.

Today we were getting ready to drive the Lazy Daze into Salida to dump our tanks. I was outside making sure we didn’t leave anything underneath that we might run over, when I saw what looked like a piece of insulation material on the ground under the front of the rig. Jim opened the hood, and this is what he found.


Lots of little prickly pear cactus pieces, bones, rodent droppings and insulation. It was everywhere! The majority was on the engine block that was very difficult to reach. Jim cleaned it out as best he could, with the help of some heavy gloves, Carla’s extra long tongs, and our hand vac. We also stopped at a car wash in town to use their super vacuum.  At least it appears they aren’t eating any wiring.

Just a small portion of what we got out.


Jim was going to prop the hood open to spray some peppermint oil, which seemed to help keep the mice away when we were in Missouri last summer, and when he opened the hood of the car he was greeted by a big rat sitting in there. It ran off and we sprayed like crazy. About an hour later we came back from a walk and he opened the car hood again. There it was again, and this time I got to see the hamster-sized rodent just looking at us! Guess the Colorado rats like peppermint.

We are leaving Monday so we will keep a close watch and make sure they don’t build another castle.

Neither Debbie nor Chuck and Carla had any nests under their hoods, but Carla did find peanut shells in their Jeep, and to their knowledge nobody has ever eaten peanuts inside the Jeep. Maybe that’s where they’re having happy hour!


  1. OMG - don't you just hate it when the critters take up residence in our stuff??? I guess it's pretty nice for them under that hood. Clean, warm, protected... Good thing you found the nest before he did any damage.

    That's weird about the peanut shells in the Jeep. Party time for the mice I guess.

    I recently saw a little mouse tail in one of my containers under the sink. Katie was sitting with her tail wagging in front of the cupboard door, she knew he was in there. The mouse was hiding and when he jumped out of the container I got a butcher knife and stuck him to the floor and then smashed him. Goodbye mouse. He was my second one since I've been on the road. I felt bad, but he should have been outside!!! It's such a relief when they are gone.

    I have mouse sticky traps on my shopping list.

  2. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck!! I can well imagine how hard they are to get rid of when you also have pets to be carefull of..... Is a shotgun overkill?

  3. Another blogger we read had the same problem. They had no idea what to do. They were leaving in a day so they didn't bother to find a solution. They called them "pack" rats. Don't know if that applies to your varmint or not.

  4. Hope you are able to get rid of those pests. They chewed up the wiring in my daughter's car and cost us big bucks. Good luck!

  5. Hope the armadillos don't make a home under your hood in Texas!

  6. Are those pack rats that fortify their dens with jolla segments? The golden-mantled ground squirrels here are making me nervous.

  7. Wow, good thing your caught them in time before they did real damage! That was close.

  8. What has worked for me. Get a ten foot or so section of the rope lights, the ones with the LEDs in the plastic tube. String those around the engine compartment and leave the hood open about 2-6 inches. That takes their dark hiding place away. The lights are cheap at the big box hardware's, use very little power and you can always find your rig when you come home at night

  9. Stash the brewskis! They might be real thirsty after eating all those peanuts.