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Critters nibbling wheel weights?

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  • Critters nibbling wheel weights?

    This morning as I was pouring the coffee into the thermos to take to work, I saw a red squirrel setting on the deck railing licking or nibbling on a wheel weight that was laying there. It saw me in the window and bolted but then snuck back and went for the small pile of weights around the corner on the same railing. It was even holding one of the little ones up to its mouth with its paws like chewing on a nut or seed. I scared it off when I left the house and grabbed all the weights and put them in the garage. I could hear the squirrel up in the tree chattering at me mad that I stole its candy.

    What gives with this? I'd pried these off my 2006 Subaru rims a couple weeks ago so I could clean them up for paint and get some new tires. I thought all the lead weights were banned, but a article from 2017 states: "Washington was the first in 2011. The latest is Maryland, which passed a lead wheel weight law in May 2017. The other states with bans are California, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota and New York".

    I am right across the border from MN but its probable the tires on these rims were installed in ND and maybe even in the western part of the state far away from Minnesota as the last owner was from out there.

    So, was the squirrel getting a sweet* taste off these weights or maybe it was the road salt residue likely on them? May need to take a lick off them myself

    *Not sure if metallic lead tastes sweet, but I know lead compounds can. That is why lead paint pigments were banned in the 70s as the chips taste sweet and kids would eat them for that reason.

    Jeff in ND

  • #2
    Yes, they do find lead to be "tasty".
    Its also an issue with the lead flashing on many (older?) roof-top plumbing vents.


    • #3
      And in the U. P. of Michigan the dang porcupine's will try to eat any thing metal that has human hand salt residue on it. It was just standard spring 'camp' repair to go replace stuff they nibbled on, chain saw handle, pad lock tin water shields, eve down spouts, etc. Sherm / Green Bay 63R1089


      • #4
        Here in California the neutral power line to the house is unsheathed aluminum, The squirrels either eat it or sharpen their teeth on it. When the neutral line gets thin enough to break, the outlets in the house go crazy. The phase that has the refrigerator goes down to 60 volts and the phase that has the delicate computer on it goes up to 160 volts. Pretty exciting.
        RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

        17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
        10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
        10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
        4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
        5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
        56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
        60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


        • #5
          Our neighbor has a new Toyota 4 something, Any way it started running poorly so they took it in to the dealer , It seems the wire insolation is soy based ! The rodents like to eat it , They were told of a car that had 7000.00 worth of damage to its wiring and to put dryer sheets under the hood to discourage the critters , Ed


          • #6
            I have never had problems with wiring being chewed, but we have LOTS of squirrels and when I left my '95 Dodge truck outside for any length of time, I would find that my fuel line at the tank had been chewed badly enough to disable the truck. It took three times for me to recognize the problem. Then, not that it was especially damaging, but anytime I left my truck out for much more than a few minutes, I would find the cardinals attacking my outside chrome mirrors. I think that every time they hit the mirror they would crap. So, I started putting grocery bags over the mirrors. Then they started attacking the chrome wheels. I solved that by buying a cheap set of RV tire covers. It was kind of annoying to go in the house for a little while then come out to find the cardinal attacks.
            Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
            '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine


            • #7
              Chipmunks are the problem here. They love to nest and chew the adjacent wiring in vehicles in my polebarn. Rat poison doesn't work as they just move it around without eating it. Tomcat rat traps with corn fastened to the trigger with fish line is about all that works. I had a talk with the neighborhood fox family last night an offered to build a condo for them and their relatives if they'd hang around and reduce the chipmunk population. So far, no luck.