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Car-owners warned to beware of cable-chewing martens

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Car-owners warned to beware of cable-chewing martens
Not as innocent as it looks. File photo: VolodymyrBur/Depositphotos"

With the arrival of spring drivers in Switzerland are being alerted to the risk of martens – small, furry, ferret-like animals – getting under the car bonnet and causing havoc.

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The bushy-tailed creatures, which are prevalent in May and June, have a nasty habit of chewing through wires and cabling, causing the car not to start or damaging the brakes.

Every year the rodents cause damage in Switzerland estimated at 40 million francs, Blick reported, quoting the Axa insurance company. 

And it is not just cars that are affected. On Thursday a stone marten brought railway traffic to a halt in the station of Le Locle in the canton of Neuchatel by nibbling through cables.

Axa says 17,000 marten attacks are reported every year, with 3,000 of these occurring in eastern Switzerland alone.

The risk of marten damage to your car is 40 percent higher than average in the cantons of Appenzell-Innerrhoden, Thurgau and St Gallen, but also in northwestern Jura.

Residents of mountainous cantons are less likely to be affected, according to Axa, as stone martens mainly live at lower levels.

Graphic: Axa

It seems the martens don’t just have a geographical preference, they also have preferred makes of car.

Fords, Renaults, Volkswagens and Skodas are all more likely to be affected.

Martens show more respect for Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW cars, according to an AXA expert who said this was more to do with the car construction than its cost.

Owners are advised to keep their car in a closed garage and to report any damage to their insurer.

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