Feb 3, 2011 at 12:01 am #1268608
Mineral King is a trailhead/campground in the southern part of Sequoia National Park. By tradition, backpackers leave a vehicle there for a few days, and when they return, the vehicle has been completely disabled by marmots. Marmots crawl up under the vehicle and chew electrical wiring and radiator hoses, and they even drink anti-freeze that leaks out. The scientists can't figure out why it doesn't kill them. Nevertheless, the vehicle is now disabled at the wrong end of a 25-mile dirt road.
The traditional remedy is to protect the vehicle with chicken wire. I figure that a 2-foot strip of chicken wire about 50 feet long should stretch all the way around my car at ground level. Home Depot sells chicken wire rolls of 2×50 feet.
Is there a better way?
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 6:36 am #1691810
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Field mice have taken to getting into my car.
There's probably some hole I could plug up with chicken wite or something.
I ignored it for a while, but then thought about them eating through wires.
I tried live traps but that didn't work.
Now, I always leave a snap trap in the car. Hate to do it.
I've caught about 10 mice over a couple years.Feb 3, 2011 at 8:04 am #1691837
Go in the fall?Feb 3, 2011 at 11:51 am #1691936
@erdferkelLocale: S. California
We were there last fall and didn't seem to have that problem. Maybe the young marmots are not carrying on the traditions of their forbears. They probably drink four loco instead of antifreeze and play xbox, danm teenage marmots…Feb 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm #1691961
That sounds fairly labor intensive.
I just have this mental image of my Grandma digging a trench around her garden to bury the fence to keep rabbits out. (rabbits right?)Feb 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm #1691967
I guess rabbits and marmots are about the same size. Marmots might be a little bigger. A big male marmot (is that a buck, or a bull?) gets pretty territorial.
The big ones are the Hoary Marmot in Montana. These in California are the smaller Yellow-Bellied Marmots.
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 1:27 pm #1691979
Steofan MBPL Member
@simauliusLocale: Bohemian Alps
Once upon a time I had a parks employee warn me that porcupines in the Pine Ridge area had been chewing road salt off of brake lines and radiator hoses in the early spring. These critters went after the brake lines and hoses because (he believed) these parts were twig and branch sized and quite attractive when salty. They were also attracted to the sweet smell of fluid leakage during the summer and fall. Chicken wire sounds like a great idea to me.Feb 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm #1692036
ha, I meant, if you just sorta wrap the chicken wire around the bottom, would the marmots dig under? I feel like you'd have to put a bit of time into setting it up good enough to where they couldn't just sorta nudge there way under.Feb 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm #1692053
I don't know. I have never arm-wrested with a marmot. They dig their burrows around boulder fields, but I don't know how they think about a 4-door sedan with chicken wire.
Maybe if I had an old used radiator hose, I could throw it in a field 50 yards away to act like decoy bait.
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm #1692059
I recall some posters in the 14er's forums saying to try fox (or some other predator's) urine around the perimeter of the car. Most sporting goods stores that carry hunting gear have it.Feb 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm #1692067
I'm unsure about chemical remedies like that.
I was involved in a multi-million dollar project that put gopher-proof telephone cable into one county. But they got the chemicals wrong at the cable factory. The cable was put in the ground, and then gophers from all over were migrating in to chew on the new stuff. In no time at all, they had completely ruined the cable, and the cable manufacturer had to pay millions for replacement.
Instead of fox urine, how about my own? I could take a six-pack in to be prepared.
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm #1692071
Chris JonesBPL Member
Get a stuffed falcon and epoxy it to the car roof…Feb 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm #1692074
Truly a myog project I could complete successfully. I'd modify that to two sixer's. One to myog the critter prevention. The 2nd for the return to the car, in case it didn't work.Feb 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm #1692080
Stephen BarberBPL Member
Marmots have a long, tough, boring winter, and when spring finally comes, everybody's trying to prevent them from scoring a little rad juice for a party! Very sad!
Plus the towing service and auto repair shops at the bottom of the hill could use the economic stimulus of a few engine repairs!
Come on, folks, think of others!!!!
;)Feb 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm #1692081
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
Wasn't there a thread recently about marmot flambe?Feb 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm #1692084
You have to catch them before you can cook them.
Once in a while, a marmot crawls up into the engine compartment on some car at Mineral King and sets up housekeeping. The owner returns, hops in the car, gets it out on the highway, and turns up the radio volume to drown out that strange squeek in the front end. A few hours later, he gets back to Los Angeles, opens up the hood, and out pops the marmot with singed fur. The animal control officers really hate that.
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm #1692091
Richard GlessBPL Member
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I've seen people put a big blue tarp on the ground in the Mineral King trailhead parking lot, drive their car onto it, and then pull the corners and edges up and tie it up around the car to keep any critters from crawling up underneath. Seems to me I saw this recommended in an old guide book as well. Should work if you car is small enough or the tarp big enough.
At the advice of the ranger last time I was there, I parked back by the ranger station where there was more people traffic. That does add a bit of paved road to your backpack tho. But I didn't have any problems.Feb 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm #1692134
Richard, that sounds like a good alternative method. Unfortunately, I don't have a blue tarp big enough for my car. So, either I will have to buy a big blue tarp that I will never use again, or else buy a piece of chicken wire that I will never use again. Or, there is the fox urine that I might never want to use at all.
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 6:32 pm #1692138
You could leave the tarp or chicken wire at the trailhead. Lots of people do, it's helpful for others. The problem is that I wouldn't want to rely on it being there and then show up and find that there isn't any. But if there is, you could use it, and then return what you bought to the store.
Or, go late in the year and the Marmots are no longer as interested in chewing through your car and most people don't bother with the precautions.Feb 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm #1692153
I just had a great idea that's sure to solve your problems.
All you have to do is catch and kill a couple marmots and hang their corpses from your mirrors/bumpers.
This is sure to deter any live marmots that may happen upon your vehicle. Either that or it will MAKE NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. Either way it can't hurt. (except for the marmots)Feb 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm #1692158
Out of the left coast, you get *BIG* tickets for that type of stuff ;|Feb 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm #1692161
Crap, that was meant to be a joke.
On a side note, I didn't think anything could survive drinking anti-freeze?Feb 3, 2011 at 7:17 pm #1692172
Yes, the scientists are still a bit confused on how a mammal can drink ethylene glycol and it doesn't kill their kidneys. I guess it is an acquired taste.
–B.G.–Feb 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm #1692233
I spend my summers in the White Mountains east of the Sierra. At the Barcroft field station people leave the hoods of the vehicles up. The idea here is that when the hood is up the marmots don't feel secure since they are exposed. This seems to do the trick. With this strategy, you have to be trusting that no one is going to run off with your battery, but at a place like Mineral King I don't think you're going to have many thieves out and about.
There is nothing worse than returning from a trip to find a car that won't work. It's even worse to get the bill from the tow truck. At least that's what I've heard :)Feb 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm #1692242
Chris, you may know what you are talking about. The marmots at Barcroft are thick as fleas. Every time I walk past there, headed north, all of their beady little eyes are peering out from the shadows of every rock.
What do you do at Barcroft? Are you a sheep wrangler?
With my car, I can't afford to leave the hood up at Mineral King.
Maybe I could rent a boa constrictor and leave it under the hood. That would take care of the furry critters, but then I would have a bigger problem getting it out of there when it is time to leave.
The chicken wire is starting to sound simpler.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.