If your car or boat’s been in winter storage, a nasty surprise may await you, warns Brad Gates of AAA Gates’ Wildlife Control.
Unused vehicles, particularly those beneath car covers, are an opportune den site for mice, rats, stray cats, squirrels, birds, raccoons, skunks and opossums.
“Typically, people put high-end or classic cars in storage, and only discover the damage when it’s unwrapped for the season,” says Gates, who’s been humanely evicting critters from vehicles, boats and buildings in the GTA for 30 years.
Wildlife may chew up the car’s interior and defecate all over. Under the hood, there’s rubber belts/hoses, electrical wires and plastic parts to gnaw.
Cars parked in an enclosed garage, rather than outside, aren’t safe either. That’s why I’d summoned Gates, to remove a raccoon from my garage.
I’d been alerted to its presence by some roofing paper sitting on my car one morning, followed by the sounds of her babies (it’s currently the spring birthing season), and confirmed when I tapped on the aluminum soffit and mom poked out her masked head.
Fortunately, that annoyed the mother enough to move on. Gates only had to install screening to secure the entry point and other vulnerable areas (vents, chimneys, etc.).
If the animal is still present, Gates will remove or chase it away, seal up the entry hole, then place the babies in a heated box outside near the entry point for mom to retrieve later that night.
Animals have alternate den sites and mom will return to where the babies were last seen to get them, explained Gates. If you don’t reunite them, momma raccoon, skunk or squirrel will stop at nothing to re-enter your car, garage or attic. (Not to mention that the newborn babies will die cruelly if separated from their mother.)
If high-rise dwellers think they’re immune from such wildlife woes, think again. Gates recalls one upscale Toronto condo where raccoons devoured the plastic side mirrors from six Porsches parked underground. Either they had good taste, or it tasted good.
Gates provides humane animal removal, but the industry is unregulated so check when choosing a company. By law, animals can’t be relocated more than 1 km away.
Tips to keep critters away:
Tightly seal up stored vehicles (no window gaps).
Remove all food/garbage from the vehicle and garage.
Place mousetraps in the garage or around the vehicle.
Keep garage doors closed.
The Toronto Humane Society suggests placing cotton balls soaked in peppermint essential oil inside the vehicle and under the hood to deter vermin.
Email your non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at email@example.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.
The Toronto Star for Wheels.ca
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
- You can unsubscribe at any time. Please Contact Us for details.
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STAR'S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X