We've all seen them; those television programmes that follow an animal charity around as they rescue our furry friends from various predicaments. Avid viewers will have seen the episodes where the charity encounters a cat in a car engine bay, or a squirrel that has somehow managed to get itself wedged within the mechanicals of a car.
Animals have been known to seek refuge in/under cars for a number of reasons. The main reason is to get cover from the elements, whether it's the excessive summer heat or winter frost we experience every year.
Dealing with a situation such as this can be a tricky dilemma. This guide will give you advice on how to deal with the problem yourself, who to contact if those methods don't work, and how to prevent it becoming an issue in the first place.
Give these a try firstAssuming the furry critter isn't well and truly wedged, we would always recommend trying to get the animal out by yourself first. This is usually a good opportunity to establish if the animal is genuinely stuck, or just being a little bit awkward.
Here are a few techniques to try and get a cat out from under your bonnet:
Tapping a fork on a food bowl - Appealing to the stomach of your unwanted passenger is a sure winner if they are just being awkward.
Leaving a trail of food - Sometimes the animal won't come out if strangers are nearby, period. So, leave a trail of food out and vacate the area. Hopefully they (and the food) won't be there when you return.
Get stuck in - If the animal is tangled up and you have relatively decent access, it is worth trying to give them a helping hand. Only attempt this if you genuinely think you can get them out without causing any harm (oh, and wear protective clothing if possible).
Time to seek assistanceSo, you've tried the above tactics to little or no avail, the animal won't/can't come out. This is the best time to give your local animal charity a call, because they will be able to best advise you on the next steps to take.
The most likely scenario is that they will send someone out to help release the animal. Depending on how severely stuck your furry passenger is, it has even been known for the fire brigade to get dispatched (usually a last resort).
Prevention is better than cure
Although it's damn near impossible to predict when (if it happens at all) an animal is going to inconveniently get stuck somewhere under the bonnet of your car, there are a few steps you can take that will help reduce the risk of it becoming an issue in the first place.
Create a shelter outside
Animals will seek refuge from the sun or winter frost any way they can. Therefore, building an outside shelter for them to use during periods of rough weather is a great idea. Best part is, it won't cost an arm and a leg.
Use your garage (if you have one)
If you have the luxury of a home garage, then why not use it? The little critters can't get in, and the added bonus is that your car is protected against the elements.
Make sure your car's protective shields are in place
Bit of a left field point this one. But you would be amazed by how many cars we have coming into our workshops with missing, or insecure, under body protection panels. These panels prevent things getting in; can you see the point we're trying to make?