After two days of hearing birds prance across our roof, we had had enough. I climbed on top of our fifth wheel to assess the damage. Surprisingly, I found nothing but a couple of bird droppings. So much for my birds-on-the-roof theory.
Immersing myself in my work, I forgot about the noise disturbance. Later that day, however, we heard a chewing sound inside our trailer and froze to try to determine its origin. It seemed to be coming from the in-floor heater vents.
We had eradicated a couple of mice earlier in the week. This new gnawing sounded louder and more damaging than mice, like the rat that chewed through the ABS pipe under the kitchen sink in our sticks-and-bricks house. That varmint caused much water damage and left us with a makeshift kitchen for about four months. It seemed evident we had an unwanted RV guest.
Finding the Culprit
Being parked in a campground in Alberta, Canada, surrounded by trees, birds, and squirrels, we concluded we had somehow acquired a squirrel. Having seen movies that portrayed squirrels jumping at people’s faces, the thought of finding the creature inside our rig put me on edge.
After the chewing noise dissipated, we exited the trailer in search of potential entry points. Finding a few obvious places large enough for a small squirrel to pass through, we spent a couple of hours sealing them, believing the rodent had departed.
The next day, a red squirrel perched in a tree outside our window, confirming our belief that it had vacated our rig. Looking directly at our window and baring its teeth, Twitchy, as we named the creature, loudly voiced his disapproval, chattering at us for several minutes. I wish I had snapped a picture of him then, but the squirrel scurried off before I got my camera ready.
Planning for a Long-Term Stay
We went outside to watch as Twitchy leapt from branch to branch and dashed down a tree trunk. He returned and bolted under our trailer. We bent down to see where he went and found no squirrel in sight. But then we heard him moving around inside the bottom of our rig, underneath the floor. Twitchy still managed to find a way in.
While pounding on the exterior wall of the trailer and then the underbelly to try to encourage Twitchy to leave, Bob heard something move. It appeared the squirrel had stashed some precious cargo inside our rig in anticipation of the coming winter. We hoped the gnawing noises we had heard were from Twitchy chewing nuts or seeds he hid in the rig and not our pipes or wires.
Thankfully, squirrels are transient creatures, storing goods in multiple holding places for the best protection from predators. Twitchy left our rig just as quickly as he had entered and moved on to another hiding spot.
We heard Twitchy inside our rig again the next day, but by the time we left the campground the day after, all evidence of Twitchy’s presence with us had been erased — well, as far as we know. We couldn’t hear any nuts rolling around under our trailer floorboards from the cab of the truck.
Avoiding a Potential Mishap
If the squirrel had truly taken up residence under our floor, getting him out would have proven challenging. It would have required cutting the protected underbelly of our rig to try to find the varmint, with no guarantee that we’d cut into the right spot. And if Twitchy had been in there for a while, he might try to get deeper into the rig, like into our living area.
In our first four years of full-time RV living, we didn’t know squirrels could get inside an RV. After this encounter, I found an article that told the story of a squirrel that had chewed its way into a man’s RV living space. The same article gave tips to rid an RV of squirrels: apple cider vinegar, peppermint oil, or dryer sheets. We didn’t try any of those things because we weren’t sure where to put them, nor if they’d work.
We didn’t think we’d see much wildlife after our return trip on the Alaska Highway. Clearly, we thought wrong. We’re thankful Twitchy didn’t do any obvious damage and that he’s in our distant past (pun intended).
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.