A change in human behaviour in the last 12 months has led to a change in the behaviour of that destructive rodent – the rat.
Where human activity has come to an end - albeit temporarily - rats have moved in and multiplied, and this can include your car. Rats love dark, warm places and the garage is one of their favourites. And as it turns out, your car is also a great source of nesting material and surfaces on which they trim their incisors.
The rat population worldwide has exploded due to lockdown and a recent estimate for the United Kingdom is 150-million. That’s about 2,5 per person and applying the same calculation to South Africa, our population of 58-million humans means we’re theoretically home to about 145-million rats.
Fortunately, when it comes to making your car unattractive to these furry fiends, help is at hand in the form of Liqui Moly’s Marder Spray. This people- and pet-friendly spray is detested by rats (Marder is German for marten, a family of mammals related to rats) and all it takes is a periodic spray on plastic and rubber surfaces to keep them at bay.
According to Nathalie LeBlond from Rentokil, it is almost a given that when humans move out, rodents move in: “We’ve seen a significant spike in callouts since lockdown and it is definitely part of a global trend. Rats and rodents, in general, can be hugely destructive and habitual gnawing is part of their natural behaviour, as it is how they keep their incisors from growing excessively long.”
In a report in India’s Hindustan Times from November, several cases were highlighted in which motorists who had left their cars parked for weeks or months discovered electrical faults ranging from non-starting, to overheating, to short circuits. These were because of rats causing underbonnet damage.
With colder weather setting in soon, Melicia Labuschagne from Liqui Moly South Africa expects a rise in cases of rat-related damage to cars.
“We do invariably see a rise in demand for Marder Spray as the weather gets colder and in 2020 the trend was more pronounced, especially at the tail-end of winter, when we started to come out of lockdown,” she explains. “Of course, our Marder Spray isn’t just great for keeping rats away from expensive car wiring and because it is non-toxic and environmentally friendly it can be used just about anywhere with confidence.”
The colourless spray uses an ingredient with a distinctive smell that is unappealing to rodents and some other mammals but inoffensive to us.
Marder Spray is readily available from the likes of Goldwagen and Builders Warehouse and comes in a 200 ml aerosol spray. Recommended retail price is in the region of R110.00.