Toyota forced to replace car whose roof squirrels chewed up

Going 'green' has its own problems - the owner of a new Toyota Aygo in Britain has complained that squirrels ate parts of his car because they were made from eco-friendly plastics.

Tony Steeles, from Croydon, says his car was repeatedly attacked by the rodents when it was parked outside his home.

He told a local newspaper that he noticed teeth marks on rubber areas of his car, and suspected squirrels because only the roof was affected.

He said, "I got a new car from Toyota. I'd not had it very long and I noticed that some of the rubber parts of the car, like the aerial, were being damaged.

''So I had to call out the AA [Automobile Association] because the car had lights coming on the dashboard. He [the AA representative] looked at it and said it's rodent or squirrel damage.

"So I took it back and got it repaired. This happened a few times and eventually I got it replaced. Since then I keep the car in the garage.''

He added, ''I could see the teeth marks. It was definitely some sort of wildlife, and I thought it was a squirrel not a rat because the area affected was on the roof.''

Speaking to Auto Express, Steele said, ''The aerial's been chewed off twice, the oxygen sensor's been damaged and various rubber-like trim parts have been chewed.''

He added that, as no other cars had been ''eaten'' nearby, he thought the squirrels might be attracted to the plant-based plastics used to boost the car's green credentials.

A spokesman for the Japanese firm told the motoring magazine, ''We have had very few complaints of this occurring in the UK,'' adding that the firm's research and development teams would "investigate if any improvements can be made to the design of our products to deter rodents".

Steeles added, ''To be honest, Toyota have been quite good about it.''

Aggressive squirrels
This is not the first damage caused by squirrels, for which the British have developed a new fondness after many species were killed off by the industrial revolution.

In November last year, schoolchildren were forced to evacuate their playground after a squirrel caused havoc in the grounds.

A teacher had to herd kids back into the safety of the building after an "unusually aggressive" grey squirrel disrupted their afternoon playtime.

One member of staff at Chater Infants School in Watford, Hertfordshire, was scratched by the squirrel during the encounter.