Mouse Makes Home in KL250 Air Box

Print Friendly

Just before “Winter Storm Pax” (someone hand me a ball peen hammer so I can bash in the skull of the cretin who came up with the idea of giving a name – a stupid-sounding name – to every week’s weather system) arrived I figured it’d be a good idea to check on my dual-sport, a Kawasaki KL250 with knobby tires that is better in deep snow than some 4×4 trucks. Fun, too – if riding a motorcycle in 20 inches of snow with air temps in the teens is a turn-on for you.mouse 1

I keep this bike – which is a rat bike, mechanically sound but cosmetically rough (dings and dents, mud and grass, etc.) out in my shed with the outdoor power equipment. This is also where we keep the bins that hold chicken food – pellets and scratch grain (corn). The relevance of this will be apparent shortly.

Well (as Ronald Reagan used to say), I went to start the bike up. I keep it on a trickle charger so the battery is always topped off. Usually, the bike comes to life right away, even if it’s been sitting for a month or more. I always keep the tank full with reasonably fresh gas (no more than two months old; if it’s older, it gets drained and used in something else) that’s always – in the off season – treated with fuel stabilizer.

Never had any issues.

Well, this time the bike just cranked and showed no inclination whatsoever to do the IC dance for me. I thought about it for a minute, about the possible impediments to ignition. But that can of ether sitting on the shelf caught my eye and – being in no mood to futz with the damned thing if I could get away with something easy and quick – I reached for the can. But before I could shoot in some of the miracle get-’em-going juice (ether – starting fluid – will flame almost anything IC to life, just don’t use it in a diesel) I had to unscrew the door to the air box, remove the foam filter – in order to get a straight shot at the carburetor throat.

Surprise awaited.

You’ve seen Charleton Heston’s Ten Commandments? The scene showing the Egyptian granaries? A mouse had made a granary of my KL 250′s air box. It was overflowing with scratch grain – corn. Stuffed to capacity with it. No room for air.

Hence the no-start situation.

The industrious rodent had – somehow – squeezed his filthy little body through a slot the width of a Pop Tart in order to access the air box and make it his hidey-ho. And he had to go back and forth god-only-knows how many times. Unless he has opposable thumbs and could carry a little bucket or something back and forth from corn bag to bike air box. Since I doubt he has either, he carried each nugget o’ corn one at a time from corn bin to air box. Or maybe he filled up his mouth with as much as he could and did it that way. But a mouse is a tiny critter and – no exaggeration – there was at least half a quart by volume of corn in that air box.mouse 3

Lots of mouthfuls.

Lucky for me there is a metal mesh screen in between the air box and the intake boot that leads to the carb. Otherwise, when I was cranking the thing while trying to get it started, I might have sucked in some of Archer Daniels Midlands finest GMO crop directly into the Kawasaki’s Keihin carburetor – possibly past the throttle plate and into the engine itself. I thank the Motor Gods for that metal mesh screen.

The thing to take away from this tale is the havoc a mouse can wreak upon machinery. The plague-carriers find wiring especially delicious – and love to shred paper air cleaners and fluff up the debris into a nice soft (and presumably, warm) bed for themselves. In a tight garage, mouse damage is less a threat because they have a harder time getting in. Plus I suspect the frequent comings and goings of people make them uneasy.

What they really like is a nice quiet shed – where tractors, riding mowers and sometimes motorcycles get stored for the winter. It is as irresistible to them as a can of sardines is to a freight train-hopping hobo.cat & mouse

Two or three things to do:

Lay down bait traps. Kill the little bastards. I prefer the humane, snap-their-neck  traps. Give ‘em some peanut butter as a last meal.

Check your stuff often. Pop the hood, look for signs of rodent squatters. Shucked shells, bits of string, shredded paper – these are Signs.

If you store animal feed (or food, period) in the shed, lock it down. Avoid leaving spillage.

Obtain a barn cat. Swap him a dry/safe place to sleep in exchange for his magnificently honed ability to get rid of mice – and even better, keep them from showing up at all. Mice are smart – and have a sixth sense when it comes to cats. If one’s in the vicinity, mice will usually try not to be.

Throw it in the Woods?   

Share Button

eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  20 comments for “Mouse Makes Home in KL250 Air Box

  1. VV
    February 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I had the same thing happen with dog food and my 99 BMW R1100R went right up the air intake and filled up around the air filter. I used a shop vac to clean out, I recommend metal trash cans for storage of anything that is edible. Regarding winter column I hope weather clears out soon for you as I will be at a buddy’s in Woolwine in spring for camping and 4 wheeling goodness.

  2. anchar
    February 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Do not leave tissue boxes in your truck if you do not use it often…mice find this to be an excellent home. I had this situation as I leave my vehicle unused 10 days at a time with my traveling job and rental car use. At least he was not in my heater core air box that I just replaced last fall

    • PanarchistamericanHelot
      February 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      “At least he was not in my heater core air box that I just replaced last fall”

      Mang, THAT would be bad.

  3. PanarchistamericanHelot
    February 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    “IM IN UR CAR EATIN UR WIREZ” – Ha! That photo was hilarious.

    Around here, we don’t call those mice. Mice are what live in the woods and are food for owls and such. I have no animosity towards those mice.

    That photo, on the other hand, was of a little trespassing, property destroying, NAP violator we call, The Bastard.

    One made a nest under the intake manifold of a carbureted muscle car once. Chewed many wirez. The Bastard.

  4. Inconsistencies
    February 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I had a dog who liked to get a mouthful of his food and bring it to the porch, spit it out and eat it there at his own pace. Unfortunately he always left some for the mice. When we finally got around to replacing the old vinyl siding, the foam underneath it was a huge labyrinth of mouse passageways.

  5. Tony Dickson
    February 14, 2014 at 1:36 am

    In my family’s case it was a 1969 Datsun 510 wagon, a squirrel and acorns.

  6. PanarchistamericanHelot
    February 14, 2014 at 3:02 am

    I’ve had that photo and the caption on my mind all day. With various sinister voices reading the lines of The Bastard. I’m half-laughing all day.

    Somewhere on here a fella asked if there was a need for jokes. I think, in some places, yes. In serious stories, maybe no.

    I wonder if eric is having nightmares about killing them about now? And, of their destruction? Ha. J/k Not really.

    I do wonder if eric and dom will post video of their fun tine snowboarding? I’ve never done that. Maybe they can get their hot chickas to add commentary? Or,

    Anyway, and maybe this belongs on a Today’s Thoughts page, but I’m lazy. Maybe you guys should advertise your ad rates? I know when I’m thinking about doing something, numbers I’ve seen during the day dance in my head at night. Or, perhaps have a special rate for start-up entrepreneurs? Just a novice thought.

    I was just thinking how likely it was for me to buy a Valentine radar detector through your website – the name is sticking in my brain – or, maybe I might walk into a store and buy one someday? … Whichever, it’ll probably be the day after I write the check for the next ticket. I wonder if advertisers factor that into their decisions much?

  7. Jean
    February 14, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Varmints in winter… I recall a story.

    Jersey winters can get cold. Critters find warm spots any place, and any time, they can.

    One morning when I came out to head to work, I hopped in the car – no autostarter, it was a manual, autostartes arent’ supposed to be installed – and turned the key. All sorts of screeching, scraping noise ensues. I turned the key back to Off and figured there must be something wrong, but I gave it a second turn, just to see if it was the cold….
    No dice.
    Wouldn’t turn over, all sorts of noise. MECHANICAL noise.

    I’m no mechanic, but… I do understand Mechanical systems. So, pop the hood latch, go to the front of the car, lift up the hood –

    And get tackled by a cyclone of cat running from WHATEVER evil god lived in the warm metal box!

    Car started just fine after that… :-)

    Cat had started quite well, too…. ;-)

    Cats are masters at finding warm, cozy spots. Warm engine compartment on cold night must’ve looked pretty good.
    but there was a VENGEFUL God in that place!!!

    (Please note, this is a retelling of an old joke – this didn’t actually happen to MY cats. :-) )

  8. Boothe
    February 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I had a nice little Evinrude outboard motor I’d leant to my dad. He put it on his boat and parked it for the winter right beside the food tub for his geese (dried corn). That spring I got the boat out to use it and had a no start condition. When I pulled the cover the motor housing was full of acorn hulls, corn and other indigenous rodent foodstuffs. The little bastards had found a bundle of pink fiber glass insulation and made their nest out of it. But wait there’s more, after that I found that they had sharpened their little rodent teeth on practically every wire in reach with special attention paid to the spark plug wires. When I pulled the nest out, there were the pinkies. So I at least had the satisfaction of squashing their offspring…with no remorse.

    I did have some mice make a tidy sum of money for me one time though. A neighbor lady had a C60 Chevy flat bed truck from a business she’d closed. It had been parked a while and they couldn’t get it started. She told my if I could move the damned thing I could have it; as in free. When I pulled the breather, it was full of…you guessed it…acorn hulls, sunflower seed shells, millet and other indigenous rodent foodstuffs along with a nest made from the padding in the seat cushion. I determined it wasn’t getting any fuel and went back with a roll of fuel line, some hose clamps and a fuel pump. I found two sections of fuel line chewed wide open in several spots for several inches. Busy the little bastards. So I replaced said lines, installed the new fuel pump, cleaned the old Holley on that 350 and with a shot of ether it fired right up. She handed me the title and I drove it home. A short while later I sold that truck to a farmer right down the road from me for a tidy sum. Thanks mice! (I’m still not sorry I squashed your offspring though)

    Nowadays I keep at least two barn cats around and have tight fitting lids on all my feed storage. Just as an aside Eric, the first mouse to the trap doesn’t get the peanut butter, the second one does. ;)

  9. Anti Federalist
    February 15, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I thought I was the only one.

    Filthy little bastards made a nest on top of the battery and chewed up a bunch of the foam/fabric insulation under the hood of my BRAND NEW VW TDI!

    #%**($##!!!

  10. Anti Federalist
    February 15, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Oh, and I am in complete agreement:

    May a fiery, contagious and painful genital rash infect the marketing knotheads at The Weather Channel who came up with idea for naming winter weather systems, all the better to get the weather talking heads spun up and out of control.

    I am quite pleased that DirectTV kicked their sorry asses to the curb and replaced them with a weather channel that (gasp) broadcasts weather information.

    • eric
      February 15, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Oh yeah!

      Naming every weather pattern establishes a new low for idiocracy. I suppose they’re going to have double-name (and italicize) the real storms now.

      Just so we’ll know the difference.

    • eric
      February 15, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Latest Greatest: Winter Storm Quintus.

      Maximus must be on deck….

  11. February 15, 2014 at 6:01 am

    When I think of Orwell’s ridiculous prediction that we’d all be speaking some sort of mindless Newspeak, I just have to LMFAO.

    1 What Orwell failed to predict was we’d buy our own cameras and our biggest fear would be no one was watching.

    2 I asked the DA what I was being arrested for. Resisting arrest she said. So I was arrested for resisting being arrested for resisting arrest?

    Yes she said. So I said what the fuck is that? The Moebius strip of arrests? Then all charges were dropped.

    3 I’m going to be proud of my daughters no matter what they turn out to be. If they turn out to be serial killing sisters, I’ll be like “excuse me, that was seventeen KNOWN victims” I can hear myself bragging.

    4 I saw a dude with a tattoo that said, thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman. Reminded me of that movie Memento. I’m thinking how bad is this dude’s memory? Mines pretty bad, but I almost never forget not to fuck dudes.

    5 TGIF? No thanks. I’ll thank a Union guy. IIRC God was a proponent of the 6 day workweek.

    6 They limit how much Sudafed I can buy, to stop me from making meth, but I can buy all the meth I want. So now I need to find a recipe to turn meth back into Sudafed so I can clear my congestion.

    Keith Lowell Jensen
    http://www.reddit.com/user/KeithLowell?sort=top

    I’m what you’d call arrestable – Keith Lowell Jensen
    http://keithlowelljensen.blogspot.com/2009/11/im-what-youd-call-arrestable.html

    Into the Woods – Keith Lowell Jensen

    • Bevin
      February 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Dear Tor,

      6 They limit how much Sudafed I can buy, to stop me from making meth, but I can buy all the meth I want. So now I need to find a recipe to turn meth back into Sudafed so I can clear my congestion.

      http://nation.time.com/2014/01/14/breaking-bad-comes-true-blue-meth-on-rise-in-new-mexico/print/

      Crime
      Breaking Bad Comes True: Blue Meth On Rise in New Mexico

      Either Heisenberg is back, or real-life dealers are lacing the drug with dangerous, chemical coloring.
      By Noah Rayman Jan. 14, 20142 Comments

      Federal investigators in New Mexico said Tuesday that blue-tinted meth inspired by the hit TV show Breaking Bad is on the rise in New Mexico, where the award-winning AMC series was set and filmed.

      It’s not the first time Breaking Bad-inspired versions of the drug have surfaced. Police in Kansas City warned back in 2010 that the show was spawning real-life knock-offs, and Canadian authorities found what appeared to be blue meth with a street value of more than $2.3 million in October. But the Department of Homeland Security now says it’s on the rise in the very region where Breaking Bad‘s characters cooked up the fictional drug.

      The coloring – unlike in the show – is an additive that has the potential to be dangerous, compounding the risks of the highly addictive drug.

      “Its truly bad,” Kevin Abar, a spokespersons for the Department of Homeland Security in Albuquerque, told KOB-TV, adding that the blue meth’s Breaking Bad cache could appeal to new users. “We’re concerned that individuals may find it sexy and want to try it and utilize the drug and it’s very addictive,” he said.

      [KOB-TV]

      • Tor Minotaur
        February 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Actually that Kevin Abar looks a little like Walter White himself. Is there some vast South East Asian village where these Obama type Manchurian assholes are all hatched by MI6 and CIA?

        I am Preet Bharara, sheriff of Wall Street, cloned in Firozpur, Punjab. Stop your criminal behavior in the name of Queen Elizabeth and Vishnu!
        http://www.businessinsider.com/preet-bharara-at-delivering-alpha-2013-7

        US Attorney for the Southern District of New York – P. Bharara
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preet_Bharara#Early_life_and_career

        Skyfall – MI6 is Blown Up

        - life imitating the dark arts in her Majesty’s unitedState, demented by design?

      • Eightsouthman
        February 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

        @Bevin, back in the old days of making methamphetamine hydrochloride one of the ingredients was also used in developing pictures and would react to light, often times giving the product yellow to red color but it didn’t make any difference chemically. Dark Pink was very good product. Blue? WTF is that?

        • Bevin
          February 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

          Dear 8sm,

          I don’t know much about chemistry beyond what I learned in senior high school.

          According to the writers of “Breaking Bad,” the blue meth was a curious accident.

          http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Blue_Sky

          After [highly negative] experiences in the meth trade with Krazy-8 and Emilio, Walter and Jesse eventually decide to expand their drug operation by selling their product to Tuco Salamanca, a powerful but psychopathic drug distributor. The two begin to expand their operations by stealing a large drum of methylamine, thereby allowing them to produce large quantities of meth for Tuco. The methylamine allows them to bypass the difficulty of acquiring pseudoephedrine, and the new method gives their product a blue color while continuing to be highly pure and chemically potent.

          Is it true? No idea. But it was a fun story twist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *