Keeping rats off your vehicle

Tony Allsop — 28 January 2015

Recently, Denyse and I spent some time in the Daintree area of North Queensland.

Some of the vanners who were parked between the  tropical trees and in the leaf litter were having trouble with the native white tail rats chewing the wiring under the bonnet of their vehicles and nesting around the engine. We chose a site that was in a more open area, and saw no sign of the rats.

However, when we spent some time in a van park in Broome, we had the electrical wiring chewed in our vehicle, and the repair cost was around $600.

We also had a similar problem at a friend's property in Torquay (Victoria) when we stayed with him over Easter on his five-acre property. We found a rat nest in our motor bay when we prepared to leave, and our repair bill then came to $350, while his Mercedes' damage bill came to over $1,500.

If in doubt, I always check the battery top or top of the engine for rat droppings.

We have heard of several ways to deter the rats. Apparently the rats do not like light, and campers were putting a solar light under the bonnet at night, after charging it in the sun during the day. Another theory is to leave the bonnet open, though there are obvious risks with this.

Other people believe that rats do not like camphor balls or Naphthalene flakes, so put these under the bonnet of their vehicle.  In our case in the Daintree, we were there for three weeks, and put both solar lights and camphor balls under the bonnet and had no problems, but are not sure if this had any effect really.

Do these things work? Do you have another solution? Have you had problems with rats chewing your electrical wiring or nesting under the vehicle bonnet?


rats tips diy


Tony Allsop

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