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Once you try alternator belt, you never go back to acorns

Several people sent me links to this article in the WJS yesterday (it’s paywalled, but I somehow have the intact version in a tab). To be more accurate, they sent me links to a tweet thread discussing the article.

Funny thing, it was published in 2019. Twitter works like that sometimes. People bring up old articles and other people don’t notice they’re years old and a pointless shit-storm ensues.

But that’s not the case here; it’s just a discussion of an interesting article. I could swear I read it back in the day, but I think it came up in a French nature program.

That’s not a weasel, of course. It’s a marten. Specifically, a stone marten. And they really do eat cars. No-one knows why.

Weasel damage is the fourth most frequent cause for non-collision auto insurance claims in Germany. Last year, drivers here filed 198,000 claims for weasel-inflicted damage, a 42% increase since 2005. And that probably underestimates the carnage.

Reports go back to the Seventies.

Karl Kugelschafter, now 64, interviewed hundreds of victims, locked up luxury cars in cages and watched as the weasels ripped them to shreds. “They go absolutely insane and tear everything apart,” said Mr. Kugelschafter, who today is better known as the inventor of a groundbreaking method of counting bats.

The most common solution is a sort of electric weasel fence (Weidenzaunprinzip – ‘pasture fence principle’). There’s also aerosol cans of weasel repellant (one is named Marderschreck – ‘Scourge of the Weasel’).

I salute you, Herr Kugelschafter. You and your marvellous bat-counting methodology. And thanks to @Cristiona and @quetzlovercoatl on Twitter for this trip down memory lane.

Have a good weekend, all!


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: February 11, 2022, 9:08 pm

Marderschreck, eh? Now where can I get me some of that, I wonder?

Actually, I suspect this is only a part of a wider story. A friend had a relatively new VW van rendered useless due to, no, not weasels, but mice stripping the wiring. Still under warranty, the van was duly deposited back at the VW dealership, who apologised and told him that the cause was a wire coating being used in Germany to shut the greenies up and which had proved irresistible to mice.

Who is telling the truth? Do we care when we can wave a can of Marderschreck at Her Stoatliness when the going gets tough?

Comment from Chicken Farmer
Time: February 11, 2022, 9:51 pm

Try Africa!
Nephew has a game camp on the Lower Zambezi (Chongwe River Camp). Rats and mongooses eat the wiring on vehicles, hyenas chew and rip apart tyres and if there’s even just one orange or lemon left in the vehicle then the elephants will ‘pry’ open the vehicle as only elephants can.
All vehicles are kept in wire-framed enclosures with liberal scatterings of poison bait in and around the vehicles to try and deter this vandalism.
Then, once in a while the ratels (honey badgers) arrive. They walk through the wire (it seems), they disregard the poison bait and proceed to utterly destroy ALL of the vehicle upholstery. Then they leave, happy with their vandalism.
Only in Africa!

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: February 11, 2022, 11:16 pm

I’m surprised there aren’t auto insurance riders that disclaim any vandalism induced by non-human animals. There’s no way to file a lawsuit for recovery!

I have read reports of squirrels in Texas gnawing on the electrical harness. For real! I would be interested in reading any reports from OZ since it appears that most fauna in that island continent can kill us… or at least knock us out so that we can be eaten alive.


Comment from Anonymous
Time: February 12, 2022, 12:48 am

Mice have always had a thing against the Germans, it seems.

I’m currenty reading “Enemy At The Gate”; a book about the defeat of the German Army at Stalingrad in WWII. One interesting fact from the book is that the Germans were holding 100 tanks in reserve. Since fuel was scarce the tanks just sat parked for six weeks or so. When the Russians attacked the tanks were activated, or rather some of them were: 70 of the 100 were disabled because mice had chewed up the wiring.

But the whole mice vs. Germans goes back a lot father than that – at least to 1284 when the Pied Piper of Hamelin came through town.

Comment from Allen
Time: February 12, 2022, 2:52 am

Bears learn which models of vehicles to open. Apparently, they prefer the minivan type because they can easily peel the side door back and then have their free for all with any food they find. I wonder if the Martens have a preference in vehicles. Or do the German Martens attack only foreign makes, sort of like a Martenkreig.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 12, 2022, 2:57 am

Has anyone told DARPA about this? I have visions of badgers and weasels and stone martens dropping out of the sky under tiny black parachutes to savage the vehicles of our foe du jour.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 12, 2022, 3:36 pm

That’s why the Germans aren’t going to show up for Kiev II (3, 4, 5, it changed hands a few times) in Ukraine.

Well, that and they’re back to using plywood cutouts hung over Audis to practice armored warfare.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 12, 2022, 6:36 pm

Death From Above!

Comment from Pupster
Time: February 12, 2022, 9:28 pm

Stone Martin? They get the munchies.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 13, 2022, 12:48 am

@Someveg – Wild Weasels!

Our motto “you gotta be shittin’ me!”

are the exact words Socrates uttered when they told him what was in his drink.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: February 14, 2022, 4:27 pm

@Pupster. Winner!

Comment from BJM
Time: February 18, 2022, 3:30 am

@Durned… Russia’s dog isn’t wagging so I suspect we are being ho-axed.

@Chikken farmer…Honey badgers don’t care.

BTW-Peppermint oil keeps critters from chewing the wiring..they hateses it and the car has a refreshingly minty aroma.

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