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Dang Pack Rats

I love that I can see Gambel Quail around my apartment complex. Too bad, however, that Pack Rats are also my neighbors. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Living in Covid Time 

          “Fate is not an eagle. It creeps like a rat.” – Elizabeth Bowen

I just spent $592 on car repairs because I live in the Sonoran Desert, home to Pack Rats that used my vehicle’s engine wires and parts as chew toys

Dang-nab-it!

That’s a lot more costly than when my newly acquired canine companion, Scamp, chewed up 13 rolls of toilet paper during his first couple of months in his new home last year.

Dang Pack Rat! — Wikimedia photo

But it’s not my first run in with Pack Rats. The first time I learned about these ratty critters was shortly after I took to the RV-ing life. After spending a week camped in Yellowstone National Park, I noticed my engine-problem light had come on. When I took the RV in to be checked out, the mechanic discovered a Pack Rat nest under the hood.

Fortunately, the only damage that time was a loose wire.

My next encounter with these came after I bought my current car in 2014, and left my RV parked at my daughter’s home near a wild desert landscape. Since it sat there for quite a while before the Pack Rat invaders were discovered, the damage was even more costly than my recent repair bill.

Pack Rats have to chew constantly to keep their teeth, which continually grow, to a manageable length. And since many new cars have soy-based wiring, the rats have learned they can chew and enjoy a snack at the same time.

Although I live in a large, well-lighted apartment complex, it is located next to an undeveloped landscape that is probably full of Pack Rats. And since I have been isolating myself because of the coronavirus, I have rarely been driving my vehicle, and those dang Pack Rats saw an opportunity they couldn’t resist.

Strobe lights beneath a vehicle are about the only remedy that works against the Pack Rats, although some have suggested that the rats don’t like the scent of Irish Spring soap. I tried that remedy when the danged critters were first discovered under the hood of my RV parked at my daughter’s home. I think the rats used it as just another chew toy.

Danged-nab-it.

I guess I’m just going to have to at least drive my car around the block every day – or take it and Scamp for a scenic drive somewhere in the Pack Rat’s Sonoran Desert home. Actually, I like that last idea.

Bean Pat: To kind, caring and loving people all over the world who, I optimistically believe, make up the majority of earth’s population

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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