Porcupine damage

schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
My neighbor has a 2001 Tracker that has been attacked twice recently by porcupines. While parked on his driveway overnight, the Tracker had its gas lines (front and rear) chewed up by the porcupine in the neighborhood (this in the rural, mountainous Catskill Mountains in upper NYS). The first time he thought the car not starting was a defect and would be fixed under warranty, not having a clue it was the porcupine. After paying $150 to have it towed to the dealer, the dealer told him it was porcupine damage and therefore not under warranty. So, the whole bill for towing 2 days of a car rental and the repairs came to about $600. The second day after the car was fixed, it happened again, and this time he knew what it was. Question: Is it possible the porcupine is attracted to the specific composition of the rubber hoses on the Tracker. No damage has ocurred to the family's other car, a 1998 Rav4 or to any other nearby neighbors. Anyone have ideas on this or how to repel the porcupine(s) before I am the next target?


  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and of course, get a large hav-a-hart trap and get rid of the porkies
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I just have to ask...how did the dealer diagnose "porcupine damage" specifically? Fur analysis? Dental records?
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    The dealer in Oneonta said that this is a fairly common occurence in this area. Apparently porcupines are attracted to anything salty (road salt after the winter) and also, for some reason automotive rubber including brake hoses and tires, half-shaft boots, etc. I know it seems like a funny topic but believe me my neighbor is sitting up at nights with a flashlight and a shotgun. The State's Conservation Department was contacted and acknowledged this is a pretty common problem in some areas. They recommendded putting a salt lick somewhere nearby to attract the creatures away from the vehicle.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Ah, yes, of course, the salt! Now that makes sense.

    You can't stop critters if they are determined, we all know that. Ever try to keep a squirrel off your roof or out of the bird feeder? Good luck.

    I suppose there are some strategies that could be tried for fun. Perhaps the Samurai could be fitted with aftermarket skid plates to close off the bottom access to the engine compartment; also, when he parks he could park over a large pan of water or some other liquid that porcupines don't like; or even park over some obstacle that just barely allows the chassis of the car to clear.

    You can trap 'em of course but this could go on forever.
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    As the neighbor in this case I am protecting myself, naturally. I have no garage (we don't have 'em much up here). I am collecting my dog's poo and putting it in a shallow pan which I am sliding under my Trooper at night. I am "improving" the pet poo by adding commercially available predator (in this cas Coyote) urine (a drop or two once a week). So far no evidence of the procupine near my driveway. Maybe it's just that he doesn't like Isuzu rubber products - who knows.
  • bodydoublebodydouble Member Posts: 801
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    Animals go crazy for that too.
  • fwatsonfwatson Member Posts: 639
    If he has any carpentry skills, he could build a garage for about $5000 and save that damage to $20000+ vehicles. It would also save a lot of weather related damage.

    Plus he would get some much needed sleep, and maybe avoid blowing a hole in the car when he misses the porcupine with that shotgun. :-)
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    It might possibly. I have been known to urinate around the edges of my property in an attempt to keep deer from destroying the nice little flowers, etc. I think it actually helps; ditto Milorganite which is made from sewage.
    According to some animal web sites, the porcupines "running" speed is about 1.5 mph so I'm hoping to chase it (if I ever see it near my car) and bash its head in with a brick.
  • mcalcankillermcalcankiller Member Posts: 6
    I had to laugh until I realized that this was not a gimmick. Seems that you could just put up a chainlink fence to keep out the gritters. That's a lot cheaper than a garage..........the salt lick block would be cheapest.

    I would not count out other critters craving salt! Where do you live? With a lot of salt licks I may be able to shoot a 13 pt buck.......:)
  • fwatsonfwatson Member Posts: 639
    Quote:"With a lot of salt licks I may be able to shoot a 13 pt buck.......:)"

    That's baiting, the game warden might not look on it too friendly.:-)
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    up in the U.P., for instance, I found out last fall that it is NOT considered baiting by Michigan conservation officers if the salt lick and apple pile is up the road from your hunting stand. we have some newspaper columnists here in Minnesota who consider having an apple tree on the same section of land is a screaming sin and lean on the DNR about it every fall.

    there are also enough hunters who are close enough to the bait so the critter's drool gets on the front lens of their scope regardless of the law.

    oh, should mention that porkies often have some loose quills, and if they get frisky running off and shake their tail, they fly. if you get quilled , ain't a lot of difference in whether you got it through the air or grabbed a chunk of > oops <.
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    Does anyone know or think that it might be the soecific compound in the Tracker's rubber hoses that attracts the beasts. The other cars in the area and on the same driveway (a Toyoyta RAV4)have not been attacked. My neighbor bristles at the concept (as I have told him) that his Tracker is made by or at least designed by Suzuki, and maybe their rubber is different. He says this is not so, that it is a Chevy like any other Chevy.
    Thanks to all for a light hearted response and some practical tips.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,875
    ...maybe the Tracker has a higher ground clearance than the RAV-4 and other vehicles in the neighborhood, so it's just an easier target for the porcupines to get to?

    Or maybe the rubber parts on the Tracker are just in a more vulnerable, exposed place, also making them easier for munching?

    How big do porcupines get, anyway? Not to get too graphic, but the only time I've seen them was smashed flat, along the railroad tracks out in Washington State. From what little was left, it looked like something I wouldn't have wanted to get into a tangle with if I ran into a live one!
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and that's as big as they get.

    maybe they just like the texture of hoses... the folks had a cat that just adored gnawing on electric cords. had to put sleeves around the cord on everything. bit down hard on the back teeth, maybe as a substitute for flossing, and got buzzed at least once.
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    I think you might be right that the hoses are just in the wrong easily accessible places. I have a '98 Trooper that sits on my driveway probably 250 feet away, and no sightings of the porky and no damage. The Trooper has more clearance under it, but it's really pretty much covered with skid plates, heavier suspension pieces and chassis rails, leaving less access for those teeth, I guess.
  • arkainzeyearkainzeye pittsburgh paMember Posts: 473
    ok this is just some idea's. maybe they are lame. but who knows anything could work. spray the lines with something "rubber protectant" or hell even a lube, like wd-40, i'm sure they wont like the taste of that. OR maybe even get them dress up hose kits. i think they call them braided hose. or something like that... "do you know what i mean". if you only have a few of them guys running around , could you set traps for them? if you dont have pets, then what about them ultrahigh frequency pest items that you plug in and they keep animals away.? I'm just trying to think up anything...
  • usaf52usaf52 Member Posts: 70
    Have a 2002 Malibu. Started the engine and heard a terrible clunking noise. Shut engine down, opened the hood and the serpentine belt had come off all pulleys. Along side the car was a kitten whose leg had been broken, obviously by the belt. Evidently the kitten had squirmed up in the engine during the night, although it is summer and what it went in there for is a mystery.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    mystery, excitement, and maybe because there are other cats who already think they own everyting worth sleeping on and made a point of it to the kitten. also, they l o v e warm cozy spaces, and if the engine was at all warm, there's your answer. the kitten obviously needs a warm lap someplace.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, 8 lives to go!
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Tastes sweet to animals-they drink it and have a horrid death-does something to their nervous system-please don't use this stuff to control animals-a really red neck way to kill animals. Shoot them if you must. If you have ever seen a cat or dog die from ingesting anti-freeze, it is not a pretty process.

    By the way-what do you do with a trapped porky-a rather prickley proposition.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I always thought it shut down their kidneys and liver.
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    Since I started this discussion the porcupines have expanded their range of attack. So far I have not been a victim. A total of four cars have now been damaged. The most recent a several-year old Corolla wagon had the fuel lines chewed through one day. After that was fixed, the porky came back and chewed through the line that runs from the auto tranny to the tranny fluid cooler. All the fluid got pumped and dumped all over the woman's driveway and the vehicle was flat bedded away. Still trying to figure out if it is worth fixing.
    The whole neighborhood looks whacky! People have snow fencing wrapped around their cars, some have bolted steel mesh all over the underpinnings to keep the critters from getting fuel lines and brake lines. There is now talk of hiring a critter removal expert. I actually got a trap, batied it with salted apples and anchovies. I figure I can deal with handling anything I catch. I built a wood rectangle or sleeve that I can (gingerly) slide the trap into once the bad boy is in it. Then I can safely handle the trap, handle and take it far a way in my Trooper. Releasing will be tricky, but I put a bracket with release wires, etc. ont the wood sleeve, and I am hopeful it will work. In a calm dress rehearsal everything went fine. Who knows how I'll react when the whole cage is rocking and a hissing screaming porcupine is trying to get at me. We'll see. Someone told me to dump the trap into a pond and wait a few minutes then retrieve trp and dead occupant. Not sure I can handle the idea of that. Anyway, it is one of the strangest situations I have ever been involved in - this whole porcupine eating cars thing.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I take it that you don't live in an area conducive to the use of a 12 gauge loaded with No. 4 shot?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    you tend to be up to your donkey in sheriffs in very little time.

    the thing to do is to take the porky ten miles or so away and release in a likely spot.

    yes, this does raise the likely spectre of the porky being in another's territory and getting run out after a fight, but life is hard and then you die sometimes. it's the best shot for the critter, since petting zoos don't have much use for wild porcupines.
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    I know, at least in my state, that it is illegal to catch a raccoon and release it in another area. Yet it is OK to kill it. Go figure. Check with animal control first for local regulations. No need to add a fine to your other losses. Sardines won't work. Go to the local garage and get some old rake lines and other hoses for bait.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,875
    ...I know one common place they used to like to get is up in the fan shroud. Back in the '60's and '70's, a lot of cars had really deep shrouds, where a cat could nestle in between the fan blades. I remember when I was a kid, my Granddad got one of our cats several times. It would climb up into the engine bay of his '76 GMC pickup and sleep in the bottom of the fan shroud. He'd start the truck up, and hear a thunking sound. Somehow, luckily, the cat would get thrown clear with just some bumps and bruises.

    You'd think the cat would learn, but it didn't. It finally got to the point that Granddad would end up popping the hood and checking the engine bay before starting the truck! I guess you don't train a cat...they train you!!
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Member Posts: 227
    ...you were able to hunt within city limits. You were not allowed to shoot across public pathways, roads, etc.

    As long as you aimed carefully, you were fine. A neighbor of mine liked to sit on his back porch, drink Jack Daniels and shoot groundhogs.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Now there's some good Saturday night entertainment!!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Certainly less dangerous than watching MTV for too long.

    OH, don't shoot the poor thing. It's just being a porcupine and animals can't make choices as readily as people (just not wired for that). I bet there's a nest of 'em around and you all could chip in and hire a Critter Guy to UPS them somewhere else.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Right. Hire Larry, Darryl and his other brother Darryl.
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    for someone to discuss damage to porcupines and how to repair them. Let's stay on topic, please.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I wonder if the Nature Channel could build a series around this?

    On a more serious note, what about a chain link fence that goes into the ground about a foot so they can't tunnel under it?

    No, I've never lived in the country.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    first, have a good supply of donor porcupines for legs, organs, and the rest. you can sort through your stock of porcupines for that. always anesthesize your porcupines before sewing new parts on them, and try to put them where the old ones were.

    this topic is rather like the credits for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except the mooses told me they weren't involved in this post.
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    "The male porcupine wraps his legs around the lower radiator hose and begins to chew...the female stands by, ready to give warning should another car approach the herd..."
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    while Jim grabs the porcupine and wrestles it to the ground to save a two-dollar length of vacuum hose, I will step into the veranda and make a call to my friendly agent at Mutual of Omaha...........
  • karlkarl Member Posts: 34
    How about those ultrasonic critter repellers ? Do they work ?

    Or, how about a dog ?

    Or, how about setting out food (bait) containing lots of iron particles, then having strong magnetic fields around your car ?

    Or, how about that South African security system that attaches a flamethrower to the underside of the car and scorches whatever's standing nearby ?

    Or, how about a JATO rocket ? (since we're venturing into the realm of urban legend anyway...)

    -Karl (here in Nevada, no porcupines to worry about... and the coyotes and wild horses don't seem to be able to open my garage door to chew on my brake lines.)
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    ultrasonic repellents are proven duds. rockets and flamethrowers are high-maintenance in themselves, and will probably roast your Doc Martens one fine morning as you unlock the doors.

    way back when, as a boy scout, a pair of raccoons swiped the bread bag overnight from under our tent and started in on it. shoo'ed them off.. and then decided to leave a final little treat. six fizzies wrapped up in a couple pieces of bread. the coons came back once, bumped and thumped down the trail after getting into my little surprise, and no further issues.

    since fizzies are hard to get nowadays, try wrapping your hoses and lines in alka-seltzer. you'll surely be noticed when you splash through puddles ;)

    razor wire should also be good, but you will probably find an extra hour or two of labor on your vehicle on every service from an oil change to pounding the dents back out of your doors, hood, and replacing the glass that mysteriously shattered when the service advisor bent over to pick up the clipboard he dropped under the vehicle :(
  • schweikbschweikb Member Posts: 111
    At this point there continue to be ocassional porcupine sightings, but no damage to cars in a long time. The neighborhood consensus is that it must be a seasonal thing that occurs in late spring. Hope so. I am the only one on the road who's had no damage. maybe they don't like my chioce of vehicles, my dog's barking, scent and excrement odor or maybe it's the territorial thing and I'm just past that invisible line in the clay. Hope so.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    they must read the posts and realize that you have mettle and friends.
This discussion has been closed.