It's autumn, when leaves turn red and gold, birds begin their long journey south, and squirrels gather nuts like Americans stocking up at Costco. That last group (the squirrels, not the bulk shoppers) sometimes hide their larder in the engine compartments of cars, a phenomenon we've written about before and probably will again.
This year's first recipients of the season's bounty are Chris Persic and his wife, Holly, of Pittsburgh, Pa. She called him to report that something smelled hot when she started her Kia after it had been parked outside for three days. He suggested she look under the hood, where she found mounds of unhulled walnuts, along with some grass. Persic says they ultimately removed about 200 nuts packed in the engine bay.
As we know, rodents of all kinds like to gnaw under the hood, and it looks like the squirrels also got to Persic's pickup truck. He was slow to respond to his wife's initial call because he was at a repair shop, where the truck had been towed after somebody chewed through fuel injection components.
The Persics join the ranks of other marauding-animal victims such as former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who, in keeping with his VIP status rated woodchucks rather than mere squirrels. This kind of damage is a common occurrence, so now seems like a good time to reiterate some tips here and here for preventing or stopping engine infestations and for storing a car for long periods. (Though the Persics' animal attacks occurred over what for the squirrels must have been a busy weekend.)
"Long story short, if you park outside, do yourself a favor and check under the hood every once in a while," Persic said on Facebook.
Finally: Persic says all this happened shortly after he received a bid to cut down the walnut tree. Coincidence, or conspiracy?