After spending a night away in the Hunter Valley, this Newcastle family made the unfortunate discovery that their Land Rover Discovery 5 – a car that would have set them back at least $100,000 new – had become the new home for a rat, who’d completely rubbished the interior of their expensive SUV.
“Gradually our car was just getting nibbled away… We took it to the dealership and they said that, even to look into the car and take it apart to that level, [would be] about $10,000,” owner Luke Tilse told ABC News.
“I think at last count [the total cost] was $19,600. There was heaps of damage under the dashboard. We were worried about airbags blowing up in our faces just from the electrics being so tampered with. All up, l think it’s going to be two months without the car while they get all the different specialist parts they need to replace.”
Gerry van Dijk, auto mechanic and manager of Gerry Wubbels Automatics, who repaired Tilse’s ‘Disco’, relates that “we had to strip the whole car apart, basically, so the whole interior is out of the vehicle — the seats, the dashboard, the air-conditioning unit, everything is apart on that car.”
“You would think that there was more than one [rat]… It’s taken stuff underneath the carpet, chewed the door trims, the seats, armrests, the consoles… It’s chewed through everything, dragged wet wipes into the dashboard to make nests and in the vents… What’s not damaged, we’ll put back in, but that will all have to be sterilised and cleaned of course.”
L: The Disco’s door on a shop stand, showing where the rat gnawed through. R: The interior gutted in order to deal with the mess. You can see some of the wet wipes the rat nested with under where the passenger seat would be. Images: ABC News
We think of cars as being just metal, plastic and carpet, but the reality is that auto makers use a wide range of different materials when constructing modern luxury cars… Many of which are tasty treats for hungry vermin.
For example, a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class contains up to 20kg of hemp, as hemp is used in many bioplastics that make up interior body panels. Cardboard parcel shelves; foam insulation and sound deadening… Hell, Bentley has been experimenting with mushroom and grape-based leather. It’s like they’re just asking for their cars to be eaten.
It’s hard to believe that this Land Rover was so totally rubbished by only a single rat – truly a nightmare situation. But it might be something more Aussie motorists need to be concerned about: regional New South Wales is currently experiencing an unprecedented rodent plague, with some experts warning the rats might reach Sydney as well as other Australian states as winter gets cooler, 7 News reports.