Yep, rats can move in under your hood. Here's how to protect your car and avoid a huge repair bill

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A Norwegian rat (Rattus norvegicus).Wolfram Steinberg/Getty Images
Rats take refuge in cars, chewing through wires and leaving owners with hefty repair bills.
One expert says pet owners may be more prone to finding rodents around their home.
There are three things you can do to prevent rats from living under the hood of your car.
If you're one of the many drivers whose cars have been damaged by wire-chewing rats, you may be able to blame the pandemic in part.
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The New York Times surveyed 28 mechanics in New York and they reported an increase in the number of rodents found in cars.
That may be partly due to the common use of soy-based wiring in modern vehicles and a 19% increase in New Yorkers' car registrations between 2019 and 2021, but it's not the whole story.
Michael Parsons, an urban rat expert and research scientist at Fordham University, told Insider that rats had to find other ways to get food when COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed. "They didn't hang out in the restaurant areas as much anymore, but they were drawn to people's homes — where there was food," he said.
The calls came in the first six months of the pandemic, which seemed strange until his colleagues realized that rats hadn't left for the suburbs, but were "rather moving very close to the closed restaurants."
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Between 2000 and 2021, calls to the 311 Citizens Helpline increased sharply, according to NYC Open Data.
While we've largely returned to normal life in the wake of the pandemic, rats haven't, Parsons said, and some are now even attacking pigeons. More rat sightings usually reflect poor garbage hygiene because rodents are simply looking for food.
What can you do to prevent rats from nesting in your car?
Electrical wiring damaged by rats. Getty Images
Parsons said there are three key tactics to prevent rodents from littering under your hood:
Even if you work from home, don't leave the car idle for long—drive around the block and relocate. At least use a remote starter to make noise under the hood and open it from time to time.
Do not park over or near gullies or sewer openings - Norway rats are not called sewer rats for nothing.
Understand that cars provide shelter and, in some cases, feeding opportunities for rats. They like soy-based cables, but also seek out discarded candy wrappers.
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If you don't follow this advice, you could face a bill of hundreds of dollars. A woman told the Times that a rat chewed through a sensor wire in her car, costing $700 to fix.
Ozzy Dayan, a mechanic at Manhattan Auto Repair in Hell's Kitchen, told the newspaper, "I see new cars, old cars, everyone comes in now with these rat problems. It brings me a lot of business, but it's gross."
It is not always known that rats also have to constantly grind their teeth, which grow in the same way as our fingernails.
Pet owners should be even more careful. Rats are very attracted to homes with animals because animal food is highly fragrant and arousing to rats, and animal waste contains essential nutrients, according to a study Parsons co-authored for the Journal of Urban Ecology.
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It's a misconception that leaving food out for your pet all day is the right thing to do. "What they do is accidentally attract rats or other rodents to the property," he said.
And don't expect your pet to scare away rodents. "We have research showing that cats don't always control rats. If anything, a well-fed cat could even share food with a rat.”
Read the original article on Business Insider

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