Thursday, November 03, 2005

anger management

See this furry little creature?


awwwww!


He's a Steinmarder or beech marten - a small doglike nocturnal animal related to the weasel, mink, badger and otter. Being omnivorous, he'll chow down on just about anything: other smaller mammals, earth worms, birds, eggs, fruit, and...get this...my car. My ignition cable, to be exact. He chewed his way right through it and even took a chunk with him as a memento. Last week was the second time this year.

A new cable was procured in no time through Mr. M's secret underground sources, but I now live in fear of this happening on a continuing basis because it's not at all unusual in our area. I hadn't given it much thought before, assuming that the marten must be just another animal with a rubber fetish and that my particular ignition cable had something the others didn't have.

After doing a bit of research, however, I found out that martens are very territorial critters and that chewing through cables is their way of warning enemy martens to stay off their turf. It usually starts with a resident marten climbing up into a still-warm car motor for a little nap. So local marten A leaves his mark there and goes about his business. Visiting Marten B comes by and also leaves his mark. Marten A comes back to 'his' car, gets wind of marten B, and the biting frenzy starts. Makes sense, huh?

The internet is full of various methods designed to repel agressive martens, including dog hair, dog urine and those things you throw into your toilet bowl to keep it smelling lemon-fresh. We've yet to try any of those, but have now put a big piece of chicken wire under my car to keep the little...uh...weasel, from crawling up into the engine in the first place.

So far it seems to be working.



baaaaaaaad marten!

16 Comments:

At November 03, 2005 4:54 PM, Anonymous Haddock said...

When I first heard of these stories I thought they werent true.....until I met people who had visits from the Martens.....and then I started seeing chicken wire everywhere and realised it was all true!
Nasty little buggers!

 
At November 03, 2005 5:05 PM, Anonymous bangkok expat mama said...

very interesting!

i can't tell if the marten-biting-cable photo is of a cute animal looking fierce, or of a scary vampire-like animal looking adorable. hm. either way, those babies have got some chompers on them.

 
At November 03, 2005 6:15 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

Maybe you could hang some useless cables from your car as decoys. The marten looks dead serious about that cable.

 
At November 03, 2005 7:13 PM, Anonymous mar said...

I have heard these stories, too. But I've never actually seen those little ones. Not a nice addition to the neighborhood!

 
At November 03, 2005 8:03 PM, Blogger jen said...

they make great fur coats. How's that for defending your space..

 
At November 03, 2005 8:55 PM, Blogger Ms Mac said...

Ooooh, the little bugger! Reminds me of the possums where I used to live. They would rip down the power lines in the night, often making an entire street late for work as their alarms clocks wouldn't go off in the morning! Hehe!

 
At November 04, 2005 6:48 AM, Blogger J said...

wow, what fangs!

 
At November 04, 2005 7:45 AM, Blogger Karen said...

But they are kind of cute, aren't they?
Hope they stay away from your car in the future.

 
At November 04, 2005 8:32 AM, Blogger christina said...

Yeah, they are really cute - that's the thing. They look so innocent and then they eat pieces of your car. I've never seen one in real life because they only come out at night. Some people even have them in their attics and they're very tricky and almost impossible to get rid of.

 
At November 04, 2005 9:43 AM, Blogger In Actual Fact said...

I had it happen twice before I believed it. Chicken mesh never worked, the little buggers always got in somehow - the toilet "stein"-thingies seemed to work. Your car does smell like a latrine though....
And yeah, they're kind of weird when one hears them running across the tiles of the roof - they've never got into the attic though. Yet.

 
At November 04, 2005 10:06 AM, Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

Hahahaha, as soon as I saw this entry I had to think back to 'Traumschiff Surprise: Periode 1' --> "Kapitän, wir haben einen Marderschaden!" *LOL*

 
At November 04, 2005 6:09 PM, Blogger traveller one said...

That's a very ugly looking little guy! I sure hope you've solved the problem.

 
At November 06, 2005 2:05 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

Wow, those vampire fangs are freaky! I've never heard of the martens until now, but squirrels are a problem for me and last year they kept digging up my Spring bulbs and stealing them. Many people use chicken wire to protect against that problem too.

 
At November 06, 2005 3:15 PM, Blogger cncz said...

you just taught me a word in german that i just learned last week in french when one of the little jerks ate a friend's renault clio. In French they are called "fouines". I do not recall car-eating rodents where I grew up though, so I call them fouines anyway...

 
At March 24, 2010 8:04 AM, Blogger Rebel with a Diaper Bag said...

WOWEE! Just got here (Germany) and was warned about them. Reminds me of that episode of the "Twilight Zone" where the guy looks out the plane window to seet that a monster thing is chewing on the wing of the plane...it must have been a Marten!


terrific blog by the way.
check me out at: Rebelwithadiaperbag.blogspot.com

 
At March 24, 2010 8:05 AM, Blogger Rebel with a Diaper Bag said...

WOWEE! Just got here (Germany) and was warned about them. Reminds me of that episode of the "Twilight Zone" where the guy looks out the plane window to seet that a monster thing is chewing on the wing of the plane...it must have been a Marten!


terrific blog by the way.
check me out at: Rebelwithadiaperbag.blogspot.com

 

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