Radio 2

Surge in marten damage to cars

The number of call-outs automobile association VAB has received in connection with damage caused by martens and weasels has increased threefold over the past five years.  The animals are appearing in far more areas across Flanders, and they can easily cause thousands of euros’ worth of damage, especially to electric vehicles.

They may look cuddly, but martens are redoubtable predators.  They love cars with a bonnet full of cables that they can bite through.  As their population grows, more and more incidents are being reported.  Martens used to be mainly limited to Wallonia.  Today they also occur in Limburg and the area east of Leuven.   The VAB has now also noticed mounting complaints from Antwerp Province.

“The complaints we used to receive were about air pressure cables bitten to pieces on petrol and diesel cars” says VAB’s Joni Junes.  “That could be easily sorted, relatively cheaply.  In electric and hybrid vehicles high voltage cables are being gnawed.  Repairs can easily cost 3,000 euros”.

The VAB urges people who live in areas where there is a threat to get hold of an ultrasonic rodent repeller.  The equipment including installation is available for between 200 and 400 euros.  It emits an ultrasonic sound that people can’t hear but which puts martens and weasels to flight.

Parking indoors is also safer.  The engine of vehicles visited by martens and weasels needs to be thoroughly cleaned as the animals leave their scent behind which attracts others of their species.

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