Tucson AZ Home Loan Info


Desert Critters: Pack Rats Will Nest In Your Car's Engine!

My friend and mechanic Jim, from Auto World of Tucson, displays the pack rat that did the damage.We denizens of the southwest often refer to ourselves as "Desert Rats."  I didn't think much about that until this week, when I had to park my Explorer down the street because our homeowners association was resurfacing our streets.

The next morning I walked down to my car (parked next to an unimproved lot opening on to the desert,) opened the door, and turned the key.

Thump!  Rattle!  Shake!  It seemed like the entire dashboard was vibrating.  I turned off the AC, and the vibration stopped.  Not good.

I rolled down the windows and went to my first appointment.

It turned out that a pack rat had decided to nest in my engine.  Somehow, it had made its way into the duct work of the heater/air conditioner.

It had gotten trapped in the "squirrel cage," the air handler that moves the air.  When I turned on the car, his goose was cooked.

24 hours elapsed before I could get to my friend, mechanic, and client Jim Canifax of Auto World of Tucson.

Jim's concern, as he took apart the motor and air handler under the dash, was "What sort of critter is trapped in there?"

He's removed live snakes from similar situations.  Rattlesnakes!

Fortunately, this was just one dead pack rat.  And oowwh, did it stink!

Auto World of Tucson


2411 W Wetmore Rd
Tucson, AZ 85705-2018
(520) 888-3520
Get directions


I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Call me
if I can help you or someone you know
with a purchase or refi mortgage.
(520) 349-9090

Comment balloon 24 commentsMike Jones • October 03 2009 11:14AM


Oh heavens. I bet that did stink! Your mechanic has a nice mustache.

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing over 11 years ago


Thanks for being the first to comment!  I'll let Jim know that his mustache has a fan club.  LOL

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 11 years ago

I stored a van for a couple of years in an oak grove on my property.  When I finally decided to use it it was a dead player.  Rats had nested and ate many of the wires.  What a mess.  And for those who have never smelled a rat's nest, keep it that way.

Posted by Bill Ladewig, Experience Is Your Advantage (LoanOfficerSchool.com) over 11 years ago

Oh, poor things.  What a way to go.  But, better than a rattlesnake.  I would never get in my car again.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 11 years ago

We see fleets of trucks here with the hoods left open -- guess the owners seem to think an open hood won't encourage them to next.. not sure.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

Laughing too hard to comment...

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 11 years ago

Yuck!  Just want I want to see on a gorgeous Saturday am!  Dead pack rat - you take the cake Mike.  Too funny.  Hope it didn't screw up your car too much.  Back in MN cats used to do the same thing in the winter - again yuck.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) over 11 years ago

What a surprise!  Your mechanic looks like he means business.  I would be serious too, if I had encountered rattlesnakes under the hood.  Great story, Mike.

Posted by Sharon & Bruce Walter, West Lafayette homes for sale (Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN) over 11 years ago

I'm with Mike J... that's a funny tail - I mean tale. ;-)

Posted by Karen Cooper, Helping Homeowners w/Home Loans in 27 US States (Karen Cooper | Sr Retail Loan Originator ! NMLS # 223305 | 360 Mortgage Group LLC Austin Texas) over 11 years ago

Oh rats, not sure I like the sound of that!

Posted by Melinda (Mel) Peterson, The Blessed Realtor - ABR, CRS (Grants Pass, OR) over 11 years ago

Well that is just disgusting.  So glad it was your car and not mine.  You would have heard the screaming from NH if I found that guy!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 11 years ago

I've never seen this, but I have had cats climb into my engine bay on cold nights. All were smart enough to leave before geting caught in the belts. Thank god.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) over 11 years ago


Takes not a great early morning experience.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 11 years ago

We get a lot of squirrels in our are that like to pack nuts in for the winter and sometime they get caught not fun to have to get them removed.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 11 years ago

GOOD MORNING MIKE!  They've been out in "packs" this year it seems! I've smelled that smell too - leave your hood up and have a terrific Sunday -- Gab

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Thank goodness that we do not have rats here in TN...

Helping you help others live their American dream...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Wow! I'm glad that was not my car! I would probably never get in it again! You would have heard me screaming in AZ! I hate snakes of any kind and rats for sure!!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) over 11 years ago

Yikes!  I had a cat get under the hood of my car years ago.  I didn't know it was there and was driving to work on Orange Grove road.  I heard a bunch of 'screaming' and a couple of loud thunks and looked in the rear-view mirror and saw it rolling in the road.  I was going 50 mph by then.  Freaked me out! 

Posted by Doreen McPherson, Phoenix Arizona Real Estate ~ (Homesmart ~ Scottsdale ~ Tempe) over 11 years ago

Dang!  Thanks, all!

I sure got behind on commenting back on this post, and it's the middle of the night, so I'm not going to try.  I'll see you all on your blogs.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 11 years ago

Mike, yikes rats in the cars and even rattlesnakes...no thanks.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate over 11 years ago

Hey Mike,

I found droppings in the ductwork at my house a couple of days ago, so put down a couple of mousetraps last nights. This morning...no mousetraps. I guess I have a pack rat, and he stole them.

I need a bigger trap. ;-)


Posted by Simon Smart (Sunstreet Mortgage, Arizona) about 11 years ago


That's too funny!  LOL!


What kind of critters do you have in West Virginia?  :)

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

Spray Rataway Fragrance to stop rodents from doing damage to car engines ,etc...

Ratawy Fragrance is non-toxic & non poisonous! safe around pets & children

Posted by Rick Suddes over 10 years ago


How can we buy Rataway?

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) almost 10 years ago

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