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Beware Of Pack Rats!

pack ratLast October I had been drawn for a whitetail deer hunt. So I left with my toy hauler and 2 quads and headed out to the hunting unit. I found a spot open that I have camped several times over the years and decided to stay there again. I hunted Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning without seeing a buck. I came back to camp, loaded everything up and headed home. My truck felt a little strange driving out on the dirt road, but I blew it off. I pulled out on the main road and started climbing a steep hill.

Now my Trailer weights about 10,000 pounds loaded and I drive a Chevy 2007 Crew Cab 4x4 Duramax Diesel. So when I pull hills, I have plenty of power. Well, my gas pedal was now floored and I was maxed out at 35 miles per hour (mph) and not really sure if I was going to make it over the hill. Finally, I reached the top and started down and my Allison Transmission didn’t shift down into tow mode. I “limped” into the next town and pulled off to check out the engine. As soon as I popped the hood I saw the problem. A pack rat had gotten in the engine compartment and gnawed through the wiring harness on top. Four wires were completely eaten through. This took out my turbo and engine break. I shuffled through my toolbox and was able to temporarily fix the wires until I could get home and take it to my Mechanic.

I started to research on why they eat the wires and how to get them to stop. I spoke to a friend of mine that runs a service shop for RV Traders. He stated that he gets rigs all the time that have been eaten up by rodents—some with damages of $10,000. I really was shocked that a little pack rat can do this much damage.

pack ratAfter much Internet searching I found out WHY? The wires are made from copper, which is a flexible metal. They need a flexible coating so the wires can bend easily. Well, part of the ingredients of the wire coating is peanut oil. What rodent does not like peanuts?

Now that I figured out why, I wanted to figure out how to stop them. There are a lot of different remedies from poison to dryer fabric sheets. Most of the poison are attractants and only kill them after they eat it. Well I am no brain surgeon, but I don’t want to attract more rodents to my rig and take a chance that they will eat the poison and die. Some people leave their hoods up all the time so the exposed area makes them feel uncomfortable and they don’t make a nest. A rancher told me that the rats relocate every morning so he moves his vehicles every morning to keep them from nesting. Some people even use sound chirps.

I decided to use is Moth Balls. They are a cheap way to go if you can adjust to some of the smell. I stick three mothballs in an old sock and ZipTie them around my electric harnesses. I have them on each quad, truck engine, and three in my toy hauler. Can you imagine driving in on your ATV and parking it for the day while you are hunting and come back to find that a rodent had lunch with your wires. Well my friends, it has happened to others and hopefully with this information it won’t happen to you or me.

Does this work? I really don’t know, but I do know that I have not had any issues since.

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