After being off work for a few days, a deputy with a local sheriff’s office in Illinois finally took out his squad car again. Once he did, he noticed that the headlight on the passenger’s side had gone out and needed to be fixed.
Conservators Of Peace
McHenry County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was a law enforcement department in Illinois. They employed over 400 people in their division. In their website, MCSO described themselves as “conservators of the peace”.
Back At Work!
Many officers had their own story for their family or friends on what they experienced in their duty. But one of the officers had a different story for his loved ones and it was one of the most unforgettable experiences in his life.
A Broken Bulb
There was an unnamed deputy who had a short break from serving and protecting the community and had finally returned to his duty. It was a pleasant day when he came back to work. After inspecting his car, he realized that the car wasn’t safe for patrolling.
It was a minor problem, but he knew that he needed to bring his car to the mechanic. It was a wonderful day for the deputy. However, it would not be an ordinary trip to the mechanic. When the deputy sheriff brought his patrol car to the local mechanic, he asked the mechanic to maintain and repair the broken headlight on the side of the passenger.
It Might Be The Rodents
He thought that it was just a simple bulb that was defective and would be fixed in no time. However, he didn’t expect what the real problem was. It was when the mechanic started working on the broken headlight.
Right away he saw something unusual on the parts. It was expected that the mechanic might saw strange things especially in his line of job. However, this was different from all the experiences that he encountered.
A Surprise Of His Career
Deputy Sandra Rogers of the MCSO told the reporters last June 23, 2017, about what the mechanic saw. She stated that “The mechanic began replacing the headlight and noticed that the wire had been chewed”.
Raced Back To The Mechanic
There were many possibilities that can cause this kind of result in this situation. There were many possibilities that could cause what happened. One of them was rodents. If the vehicle was inactive, they could get inside the car and masticate every wire they see.
Piles Of Leaves
These troublesome animals could cause expensive repairs on things that they damage. Even though there were other possible causes of why the wire had been chewed, the mechanic resumed his work on the broken headlight.
A First For Their Shop
It was then that he realized something strange inside the headlight. When the mechanic inspected the cause of the wiring damage, he began to see something unexpected. Deputy Rogers stated, “He started to fix the wiring when he saw a whole bunch of leaves.”
Lovely Baby Squirrels
The mechanic confirmed his assumption. He assumed that the rodents were the cause of the trouble. When he followed the trail of the leaves, he discovered the main source of the problem. The police officer left the job and returned to his duty when the mechanic started to repair the broken headlight.
A Decent Act
He assumed that it was just a broken headlight that would soon be repaired in a standard procedure. The deputy had no idea about what was happening inside his car until he received a call from the mechanic.
A Wrong Decision
He knew something was wrong and the repair did not go as they had planned. The mechanic called the office and said that he needed to return to the workshop because he could not explain the issue of his car on the phone.
Here Comes Mommy!
The deputy was fascinated so he borrowed another vehicle and returned to the workshop. When he came back, the mechanic showed him what happened inside his car. When the officer arrived, the mechanic told him that he found something unbelievable inside the car.
The deputy sheriff did not know what to expect with what was happening. He expected the worst possible outcome which included the total repair of the car. The mechanic took him in his car and saw all the pile of leaves.
Saving Her Babies
When he observed closer, he saw something out of ordinary. Rogers stated that “Inside the nest of leaves were four baby squirrels,” The mechanic never expected this kind of incident in his entire career on cars.
A Typical Case
The deputy officer was surprised by what he saw. It was because a mother squirrel squeezed her way into the car and left some beautiful surprises. It was four baby squirrels. Even the mechanic said that it was the first time it happened in their shop.
Make Your Car Less Attractive
The mechanic didn’t want to hurt the animals because he loved them. He pulled out the wheel of the car and removed the nest of squirrels. The baby squirrels didn’t even wake up when they were extracted from the vehicle.
Follow His Footsteps
Deputy Rogers stated, “They were all in perfect condition and sleeping soundly when they were removed by the mechanics.” What would they do to the babies? Their nest was found inside the officer’s car.
It means that he would be responsible for the animals. Rogers said, “It was really cute because their eyes were still closed, and they were all tucked in a circle.” Once the squirrels were extracted from the car, the deputy decided to take them home with him.
He didn’t plan to take care of them but had just wanted to try to reunite them with their mother. He placed the sleeping cute baby squirrels and their nest in a box and placed it in the same spot where he had parked before visiting the mechanic.
The squirrels were put down in the cardboard box on the ground by the deputy. He left the babies inside the box with a hot water bottle to keep them warm while he hoped that the mother squirrel was still in the area.
After an hour passed, he was worried that he made a wrong decision because their mother wasn’t returned yet. After many hours of waiting, he finally saw the mother squirrel coming to observe the cardboard box where the baby squirrels were.
She couldn’t resist when she heard her little ones cry because of hunger. The mother checked inside the box and gripped one of her babies by its neck and took it away from the others. After running away, she never came back.
The deputy officer patiently waited for the mother to come back. He stated, “I believe once she’d picked the first one up and knew the other was safe in the box, she waited until it got dark to get the rest as she must not have felt safe moving them in daylight”.
He was certain what would happen and as soon as the sun lost its shine, she returned for her babies. One by one she returned them where they belonged. The officer was worried that he might have contaminated the nest and that the mother would not return to her babies.
But nature was a wonderful thing. She came back to where the babies were discovered, picked them up one by one, and took them to their new home. He hoped that their next home was a safer one.
The Real Question
The only thing that the officer asked himself was why she hid her babies inside his car. This incident was common with squirrels. They build nests inside the car because it gives them the heat needed for their babies.
A Cozy Place
There was one site that explained “they’re attracted by the warmth of the engine, which creates a cozy place for them to nestle. Squirrels create a fine mess once they bring in nuts, acorns, and nesting materials.”
But this could lead to damage and problems. Canadian Wildlife Federation said that it was a very common issue, especially in rural areas. They suggested that to decrease the occurrences of the incident we need to leave the car hood open so the vehicle would be cooler.
When it was cold, It would make the car less attractive to make a nest. One more thing was to apply taste deterrents on wiring to prevent biting of electrical circuits. Bitter apple spray was one of the options to use because it was harmless to the squirrel.
One of the recommendations was to get advice from your mechanic or a veterinarian on what is the best possible way to keep the squirrel away. With their advice, we could prevent any damage to our cars or any properties.
A Good Example
We should follow the example of the deputy at McHenry County Sheriff’s Office experience. Squirrels might sometimes be troublesome, but the deputy on MCSO showed how valuable life was. He showed what police officers and civilians should have done in this incident.
By showing concern with other beings, things had ended well. If the baby squirrels did not find or did not return to their mother, it would become a tragic ending. The baby squirrels no doubt appreciated what the deputy did.
As it turns out, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) suggests using bitter apple spray since the scent keeps the squirrels away. “It’s rumored that squirrels don’t like the smell of peppermint or curry powder,” CWF said.
However, they also warned those who decided to go ahead and use this particular method. They said, “Be careful with peppermint around your pets and small children, as it could be harmful to them.”
Another method that’s less risky is using the distinctive smell of a predator in order to scare off squirrels. According to CWF, sprinkling pet hair or placing an open bag of used kitty litter in your car works.
“The squirrel will likely feel intimidated by the smell,” they explained. The main point to keep in mind is that whatever you spray or put inside your car, make sure not to damage it. Take that advice from your mechanic, or you might as well just leave it to the squirrels.
Also, try and follow the example provided by the MCSO. It’s a sad reality that some people think of squirrels as nothing more than a nuisance. However, that wasn’t the case with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
Above and Beyond
This department clearly went above and beyond their call of duty to make sure those little squirrels were safe and sound, back with their mother. This is something we should all be aspiring to.
Not The Only Ones
It turns out that squirrels aren’t the only animals that can be discovered inside of cars. In fact, cats tend to have a similar habit during the winter. They like finding warm spots to snuggle up and get comfortable.
Just like squirrels, cats like cozying up inside the hoods of cats for warmth when it’s cold outside. To avoid any unfortunate events, it’s best to bang on your car hood before starting it when you’re driving somewhere in the winter.
Double-checking that the hood of your car is clear can save animals’ lives. It takes just a few seconds! If it sounds ridiculous that a cat can fit inside a car hood, you’d be right. However, that doesn’t make it untrue.
All Kinds Of Stories
There are always different stories all over the internet of cats that were discovered inside the hood of a car after the driver went on a long drive. There are times where the cat doesn’t get hurt, but for the most part, these stories don’t have so good of an ending.
The moral of the story is, stay alert, listen for strange sounds coming from your car engine, and be sure to bang on the hood in the winter to check for any stray cats hanging out inside! You’ll be happy you checked, believe us.