By Nanci Dixon
Pack rats, mice and scorpions, oh my!
We were inundated with all three. Sometimes all three at the same time and sometimes separately. But no matter if all together or separate… they were disgusting.
Our biggest battle, and a battle it was, occurred this summer. Mice, we had adjusted to. We know they have collapsible bone structure and can get through a hole the size of a dime. If we found any evidence of them (commonly known as mouse poop), out came the traps and chunky peanut butter. The key is to get them early before any live births occur, and then try to locate and seal their entrance point.
This year it was under the gas pedal. Filled that with steel wool. Followed their evidence path to the front of the motorhome, pulled out the generator, and to our horror found that the little buggers had gnawed wires, chewed a huge hole through the foam insulation and made an entrance to our motorhome.
We wrapped the wires, filled the hole with steel wool and foamed the area up, hoping of course that they were gone and we hadn’t sealed them in from both directions. Double checked with a few pieces of popcorn on the floor, and found their other entrance point – the sewer hose opening in the wet bay. It was a veritable highway to food. Our food.
That led us to the dollar store. We bought two cheap toilet plungers and cut them to fit securely around the sewer hose opening. Then we added copper scrubbing pads to deter further. I used copper ones after the steel wool rusted.
We were good! No more mice… But then came the pack rats (though not in the motorhome, thank goodness). I would have had to vacate permanently but the evidence was all over the ground outside the RV. It started when my husband cleaned off the pack rat nest on our neighbor’s motorhome engine, and then cleaned the nest on his pickup truck engine. The rats went looking for a new home. Ours.
Steel wool was no deterrent. I think they use it for their nests. They love shiny metal stuff. I noticed that aluminum foil was disappearing from our grill. They could take down the engine wiring in a single night. Our neighbors barely made it to the repair shop.
The lines were drawn. The battle was on.
We had always had rope lights under the motorhome, but I think they used them for a night light. Three trips to the hardware store and I was set: two large home electronic rodent deterrents, one under the generator in front and one under the diesel engine in back. They didn’t like those much and would make a wide circle to avoid. I also put rodent spray around the exterior. It smelled so good that I truly believe they thought it was room freshener. Bounce fabric softeners multiplied in every bay. Small battery-operated sonic deterrents in the car engine and in the house battery compartment. Started the generator and engine every day, sometimes twice a day.
Still, there were droppings. I could follow their trail home – our home and toward our engine. Glue traps! Those should work! They did! … For a lizard. Not good. I threw out the glue traps and the lizard. During another trip to the hardware store, I gave in and bought rat traps. Placed them strategically at the wheels and whamo! Success!
Ugh! I hadn’t actually seen one before. They look like huge rats… Wait they are huge rats! My husband was nowhere to be found. No way am I saving that trap! No way am I touching that trap! Snagged it with the awning pole and dumped in a garbage bag. Whenever my husband returned he was going to have to deal with the garbage bag.
And the scorpions? Well, after the pack rats, scorpions were no big deal, we just brushed them away being careful to not touch their very venomous stingers.
What have been your experiences with rodents, scorpions or other animals in your RV? Tell us in the comments below.