Design flaw allows squirrel family easy access into RVer’s roof space

11

By Rod Somppi
We own a 2016 KZ Spree trailer which we have thoroughly enjoyed since we purchased it. Until this year, we have had no problems with the unit.

However, on our first outing this spring, we discovered that we had a guest or guests in the roof, that is in the space between the outside and inside surfaces of the roof where there is insulation, wiring, duct work, etc. We guessed it was either mice or squirrels, and it did make for some interrupted sleep.

While still camping, I searched to find any possible access point, and I found two such places where a rodent could easily get in up under the fiberglass cap on the front of the trailer.

On either side of the back of the cap at the bottom where it meets the steel cross member, there is a triangular opening. I tried baiting the critters by stuffing some crackers with peanut butter into one of the triangular access points – it was gobbled up the next time I checked. There was little else I could think of to do while still camping besides verifying the access points.

“I placed a squirrel trap at the access point.”

When we returned home, I tried placing a mouse trap at the access point to no avail. I then placed a larger squirrel trap at the access point shown in the photo. The next morning I had captured a nursing female squirrel who undoubtedly had left behind a very young family. There is no way I can think of to gain access to the space in the roof to remove what remains so there they will remain there for the life of the trailer.

In addition to the two access points that are large enough for squirrels to enter behind the fiberglass cap, the entire bottom of the cap (all 8 feet) when viewed from the front and underneath leaves a gap (see Pic 5) to the steel cross member through which I am sure mice could crawl.

I was totally shocked to find these access points given that the trailer is quite new and comes with a Polar package wherein the complete belly is sheeted in. What a design flaw to leave such access points!

I have now covered over both the gap at the front and the two squirrel access holes so I am anticipating future guests in our trailer will be only of the “invited” variety.

RVtravel.com reader Rod Somppi lives in Thunder Bay, Canada.

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WEB
3 months ago

Our Hurricane has a hollow rear end. While tracing a problematic back up camera cable, I found it runs from the frame, up the rear corner and above the rear window. I will now check if there is access to the top of the ceiling from the camera! But it is way too big of an area to even think about sealing up. 🙄

Goldie
3 months ago

Am I the only one wondering how user friendly your RV will be once those babies decompose?

Captn John
3 months ago
Reply to  Goldie

They will dry out to a paper like substance in the heat. I doubt much if any odor will be noticed and only for a short time.

Lyn
3 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

My experience has been that there is an awful odor and it doesn’t go away in a short time. And, hot temperatures only made it more unbearable. You must have a trick that you’d like to share?

Dale
3 months ago

Those squirrely little critters are determined critters. We have a 2017 Montana 5vr and were parked in Yellowstone, Oct.2019. We had a squirrel get into our ceiling, we tried red pepper, cinnamon, critter repellant, soap, fiberglass and finally steel wool. All along our frame are holes for wiring, hydrolic lines, etc, I finally blocked all those holes with steel wool but the little bugger still got in. We could follow his tracks in the dust along the rails and beams and found he was going in through the hole where the hydrolic slides rods went through the frame. Then once he was in the underbelly he would go up the wall between the rear side window and the slide, never seen the inside of the wall but we could hear it climbing and our dog pointed it out to us. Then he had the run of the ceiling. We prepared ourselves for his next entry and pounded on the ceiling and walls and drove him out, saw him leave and scamper up a tree. Immediately we packed that hole with steel wool. Stopped the squirrel, never hear from him again. however, as I thought about what i had done it donned on me that it was a good idea but a bad idea. now I had steel wool shavings on a hydrolic rod that could foul up the seals and cantaminate the fluid so before we left I had to very carefully clean the rod to be sure no fragments got into the seals…not easy trying to clean and not scratch the rod. Now we don’t recommend steel wool around hydrolics. So what is the answer… we don’t know LOL

Stan Hume
3 months ago

If mom was nursing, you should have released her. Once the babies were old enough to leave the nest, she would have led them out. This usually happens when the babies are a few weeks old and it gets hot enough in the space that they can’t live in there. Then, you could seal the space. I know that you wanted the critters gone right away, but letting nature take its time results in a totally vacated space and is more humane.

WEB
3 months ago
Reply to  Stan Hume

A tamed pine martin or weasel would have dispatched the rodents the best.

Randy Bitner
3 months ago

I had a red squirrel that gathered black walnuts and stored them in the Keystone High Country basement. In fall after winterizing it, I noticed mud on back bumper. When I went inside camper I could hear the critter scampering around. On the underside we have a belly covering, by the back bumper was a 1 inch by 1 inch hole. That red squirrel took over 300 black walnuts (Without out the covering, it cleaned them first, thank goodness for that) from the back bumper it scampered on the underbelly plastic, up into the water pump area (Front basement) where I found them packed in around the electrical system and all through the basement.

Marty chambers
3 months ago

I can’t imagine this, a Thor product with a design flaw?

A rat, or squirrel can get in any hole that it can get it’s head in. That is the size of a quarter!

Manufacturers know this, many don’t seem to care.

Captn John
3 months ago
Reply to  Marty chambers

We want them fast and cheap. Every manufacturer builds the same with the same unskilled labor with no training.

Lyn
3 months ago
Reply to  Captn John

I have a friend whose son works in the RV building industry. He had to attend 3 months training; so not “every manufacturer builds…with the same unskilled labor with no training.” It’s simply not true.