Night of the Lepus!

Posted: February 20, 2013 in Airport, Colorado, Denver, Flying, Parking, Travel
Tags: , , , , ,

The parking lots at Denver International Airport have been stalked by a vicious beast that has been causing thousands of dollars of damage to cars parked at and around the airport, and authorities are struggling to contain and control the situation, which is surprising given the creature they are having to deal with: bunny rabbits. For months now, there have been more and more complaints of severe damage to the wiring that runs through the undercarriage of cars parked at DIA, particularly to peoples’ ignition cables. Bits of fur and pellet shaped droppings left at the scene of the crime make figuring out the identity of the vandals easy, but that doesn’t spare parkers from the hundreds of thousands they have to spend to fix the damage tot their vehicles. And DIA has maintained that they’re not liable for damage done to vehicles at their facilities, leaving motorists on the hook for the repairs. Of course the big question on many peoples’ minds is “Why is this happening? Did someone crossbreed a rabbit with a goat?”

Well, as it turns out, the answer is pretty simple and sadly involves no genetic manipulation. Rabbits, like most animals, don’t like the cold. Now as anyone who has caught their cat sleeping on the hood of their car knows, a recently driven car gives off a lot of heat for quite a while after being turned off. The rabbits that live in the plains around DIA have figured this out apparently, as shuttle drivers there have reported seeing a dozen or more rabbits all huddled under one car and seeing various herds of rabbits moving from the undercarriage of one car to another throughout the day, with each newly parked car basically providing them with a new warm bed to huddle in.

Now that explains what the rabbits are doing there, but not why they suddenly developed a taste for car wiring. The answer to that surprised me; turns out it’s a by-product of our greener production processes used in manufacturing cars. Many companies use a soy-based coating for the wiring used in cars these days. While being greener and biodegradable, these wire coatings are quite tasty to your typical lagomorph. So while these herds of bunnies are moving from car to car huddling together for warmth, they’re snacking on those tasty soy-coated ignition wires. So besides flavoring our car parts with something less tasty, what’s to be done?

Well, complaining to the airport isn’t doing much. While DIA reports removing more than a hundred rabbits a month from their parking lots, they still maintain that they’re not liable and that it’s up to parkers to deal with the rabbits. State wildlife authorities have set up new eagle and hawk perches near the airport to encourage the raptors to hunt more of the rabbit community near DIA, but the rabbits are easily outbreeding the appetites of the birds of prey in the area. Local mechanics have been using coyote and fox urine, found at most hunting stores, to coat people’s car wiring and that seems to be meeting with some success; unfortunately, most motorists aren’t getting the process done until after they already suffered gnawing damage to their cars. Finally, a number of private parking facilities have taken the obvious step of putting in new fencing to keep the rabbits out.

So if you’re flying out of Denver or just need to park near the airport, it’s a good idea to (and I can’t believe I’m being serious about this) get some predator urine to spray your car down with, and park at an off-site facility like these that are taking the extra steps to protect your car from rampaging bunnies.

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