Crossing the Simpson Desert or "I smell a Rat"

Submitted: Monday, Jan 25, 2016 at 21:23
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Doing the Rig next May and came across and interesting Tip.
Get off the track for a camp and put up your bonnet to cool off the engine before nightfall.
Then put a couple of those cheap Led Light torches in the engine bay overnight.

Ok before you ask what is he on? there has been a population increase in native rats with all the rain in the Simo. They apparently crawl up into the engine bay to soak up any residual engine heat left over. While in there they love to munch on anything that is chewable particularly wiring.

I have only experienced this once before on Cape York - Siesa camping area 25 years ago but that was in a diesel. With all the electrical wizardry of the FJ Cruiser the thought of cable munching rodents has got my attention.

The good news is they (native rats) are nocturnal and don't like light. A couple of small Led light Torches and batteries are cheap.

Just a tip for any adventurers venturing into the Desert

Cheers

dad
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Reply By: vk1dx - Monday, Jan 25, 2016 at 21:42

Monday, Jan 25, 2016 at 21:42
We had trouble on our first Simpson crossing. We now hang a couple of those blue toilet tablets in the engine bay and close the bonnet. Nothing since then.

I may try the light as well. I should install one or two in the engine bay anyway and leave them on.

Thanks

Phil

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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 08:02

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 08:02
Is that for the smell to keep them away or do they munch them?
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 08:40

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 08:40
Hi Malcom.

It's the colour mate. They don't like blue. They are scared of it.

Seems like they all come from Queensland and prefer maroon.

The smell.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 08:48

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 08:48
Ha!
good answer :)
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Reply By: Robyn R4 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 09:14

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 09:14
I read somewhere on here that the introduced rats also love to dwell in there and that camphor blocks send out enough of an irritating whiff that they look elsewhere. Carried some camphor with us around the Kimberley but didn't see any (or hear of anyone's stories of woe) so it remains packaged until the next trip.
Goodness knows what would dwell in the warmth of your engine on a cold winter night given half a chance, eh?!
:)
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 09:34

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 09:34
I've also heard about this.. And read some where about the rats at night on the Plenty Hwy, you can apparently hear them in the grass rustling around and fighting between each other..
We pulled up for a cuppa, in a rest area between Hopetoun and Esperance, in WA, there was a big pile of wheat, which had been dumped, must have been a hundred holes in the ground around it.. I looked at it, and thought to myself, what it must look like at night time... Be big we'll feed rats every where.. At least if they have there source of food, you would be OK...
We are also planning a trip later in the year, with a Simpson crossing in the mix, so will be getting a few lights, and toilet blocks as well.. Just to take a few precaution.. Thanks for the heads up! Cheers Odog..
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Reply By: Member - Andy M (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:11

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:11
I'd agree that something extra to just lifting the bonnet would be a good idea.
In 2011 when we were in Simpson and western Qld we always lifted bonnet to help the cooling but that didn't stop the little critters having a good munch on my injector harness.
Got home okay but on closer inspection found the insulation chewed on quite a few wires but luckily not right through.
It was good conditions for rats then and they'll love it now too.
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Follow Up By: Member - Odog - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:46

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 11:46
Thanks for that! Hopefully they prefer the taste of a Nissan rather than a toyota.. Lol
Now you got me worried! Might take a bottle of cat urine with me.. Ha.. Ha... Cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 19:54

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 19:54
Cat Urine!!! Just take a few cans of Fosters beer with you, its a little more convenient Michael
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 20:26

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 20:26
This subject comes up occasionally on here and seem to remember someone suggesting snake "scats" as being a useful deterrent to all rodents.

Suppose it's a case of first get your snake, then......................

Bob

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Reply By: Mark A12 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 13:01

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 13:01
Hi,

My son and I crossed the Rig last July. Due to drilling a lot of the track was graded and it was a very easy run. This was my second Simpson crossing in 2 years and we did not see any rats at all. Also no one we spoke to on the track brought it up.

Have fun in the desert.

Cheers,

Mark
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Follow Up By: dad1340 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 14:16

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 14:16
Thanks Mark, apparently the rodent issue is a minor concern for SA Parks (source of Rat issue) With all the rain and subsequent feed they are predicting an explosion in ferals. Donkeys, Camels, cats and foxes.
Also Mt Dare told me a few weeks back that they had over 200mm of rain so how the Rig and in fact any of the tracks with capping stand up is anyones guess.

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Reply By: dad1340 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 14:05

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 14:05
Ok, we now all agree we take Camphor Blocks, Blue Toilet Tablets, A Bank of Led Lights and 4 litres
of cat urine. I reckon combined, we have the Rodent problem nailed.

I've also asked the old Tom Cat next door if he and his mates wants a trip across the Simo, downside, they will have to camp under the bonnet. He is thinking about ;)

Happy Oz Day Lads and Lassie's

Cheers

dadd
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Follow Up By: Member - Odog - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 17:38

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 17:38
Thanks dad.. Should be in Friday funnies.. Got a good laugh out of that... Cheers
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 19:38

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 19:38
These plague rats are quite impartial.......they're just as happy to chew radiator hoses on a diesel as they are to chew out some crucial wiring on a petrol engined vehicle.

They also enjoy exploring other sections of your camp, such as tucker boxes, vehicle cabins or swags. The latter case is usually after you've gone to sleep. :-)

We were being pestered by mice near Lake Eyre in 2011. Fed them some slices of bread, and after dining, they left us alone. Wonder how a few dog biscuits spread just out of the camp would go to entice the rats away from one's camp.......and under bonnet area?

Bob

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Reply By: Ron A - Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 20:16

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 at 20:16
Were heading to Canberra shortly and planning on camping at the "free camp" in front of old Parliament House as suggested by a Member on this site. We shall ask the other "free campers" for some advise on how to deal with the rats when free camping in remote & city areas and report back.
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Reply By: tim_c - Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 10:10

Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 10:10
My brother had his car chewed out on night in central NSW, unaware he travelled on but the following day he lost power going up a hill - turns out the mice had been chewing on a turbo hose which gave way when it had a bit of pressure behind it. He now puts rat-sack blocks in and around his car, but most of these don't kill rodents until about 3-7 days later (they can chew a lot of wiring and hoses in that time!).

I've wondered about something like this: Zaparat - Ultrasonic Rodent Repeller 12v and how effective it would be?

I hadn't thought of the blue loo tablets - does anyone know where to buy these (I'm assuming you don't just nick the ones out of public toilets along the way)?
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 13:43

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 13:43
Tim,
You can buy those things, can't remember what they're called, at supermarket in the section that sells all the dunny type products. You know, Toilet Duck, Harpic etc etc. Usually are round, wrapped in red or blue cellophane paper, with a label on them. Asked the Boss, but even she can't remember what their name is.





The 2 products above are sold in same area Tim. Might be just as good.......they're quite odourous.
Edit, some 2 hours later. Tim, the Boss has been shopping since posting the above, and it seems I've got my wires crossed. The blocks I was thinking of were Air Freshener Blocks.......not sure they are the same composition as the blue blocks mentioned above. Think Camphor would be a useful substitute, it's very aromatic, and I'm sure rodents wouldn't like it.


Bob
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