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Last 7 Days

by Tim Beissmann

An opportunistic squirrel has almost destroyed a UK man’s £5000 ($8150) 2003 Vauxhall Astra after deciding it was the perfect place to store peanuts for the winter.

John Gold, 59, took his car to a garage in Warwick to fix a leaking radiator, and got quite a surprise when he was told the vehicle’s air intake system was crammed full of peanuts.

“I couldn’t quite believe what the garage was telling me”, Mr Gold said. “There were literally hundreds of them stashed in there.”

“My mother-in-law regularly puts seeds out for the birds next to where I park the car, so the squirrel must have taken them from there and hidden them in the airbox.

“My car must be a haven for rodents, as last time I took it in for a service I faced a £1400 ($2281) bill because rats had chewed through the HT leads in its engine.”

Jason Perry, manager at Warrington’s of Warwick garage, said in 42 years working in the servicing business, he and his colleagues had never seen anything like it.

“When we lifted up the bonnet to investigate the problem, we certainly weren’t expecting to find a hoard of nuts,” Mr Perry said.

“We were very surprised the car was still running, as the nuts were completely blocking the filter.

“Rodents can sometimes find their way into car bonnets and can cause quite considerable damage. Right next to the air intake is the Engine Control Unit. If the squirrel had started to chew the wires – like Mr Gold’s last experience with rats – it could have caused very serious damage to the vehicle.”

Mr Perry said there was unfortunately very little people could do to stop rodents making their homes under car bonnets, especially in country areas, but had some general advice to all motorists.

“It does help to check your car regularly, as it is those vehicles left unattended for long periods of time that it tends to happen to,” he said.