Martens have long since become accustomed to us humans and have declared our settlements their territory. Unfortunately, it often causes damage in the process. Find out here why this is so, how you can recognize marten damage and what you can do about it.
It is the stone marten that nests in our engine compartments and attics. because he has quickly discovered that the living conditions in the cities are better for him. As cute as it looks, it can cause considerable damage, resulting in high costs. Whether in the car or on the house, we explain what you need to know about the marten.
- Marten& marten damage to the car
- Marten& marten damage in the house
- The marten: nocturnal loner
Marten damage to the car
- Why do martens attack cars??
- What you should do in case of marten damage?
- Marten damage and insurance: who pays?
- How can I prevent and prevent a marten damage?
Why do martens go after cars?
Martens are very curious, alert animals. Active at night, they like to explore their surroundings in the dark. As solitary animals, martens occupy a relatively large territory in which they constantly switch back and forth between several hiding places. Unfortunately, the engine compartment of a parked car is also a good hiding place for a marten from light, noise and people walking by.
Why do martens bite cables?
Martens are solitary animals and mark their territory with scent marks – including in the engine compartment. If another marten now explores it, for example if you park your car in different places, the smell of the previous marten provokes and makes the animal aggressive. Then he wants to "bite away" the smell and attacks cables, hoses and co. This is most critical in the mating season from march to june/july – this is therefore considered the marten season.
Which car parts are particularly affected?
A damaged engine part is normally not the problem, but the consequential damage, which can result in high costs and risks and is usually only detected after some time. For example, destroyed hoses and cables can eventually overheat the engine and cause engine damage, or bitten rubber sleeves can affect the steering over time.
Most frequently affected by marten bites are hoses, cables and insulation mats. © istock/shootingrichard
The following parts in the engine are often affected by marten bites:
- Hoses for coolant and windshield wiper water
- Power cables and their insulation
- Ignition cable
- Bellows for the drive and steering system
- Insulation mats
- Rather rare: brake hoses, fuel lines, fan belts and tires
What should I do in the event of marten damage??
In a few cases, the car is completely paralyzed and you often only notice the consequences during operation. Therefore, you should check your engine compartment regularly, especially during the marten season. Acute consequences are usually not so bad and can be quickly repaired. It’s usually only the consequential damage that becomes expensive.
How can I recognize a marten damage??
A drop in performance or flashing of the warning lights can often be an indication of marten damage. Then you should definitely go to the nearest repair shop.
If you notice footprints or marten hairs on the bodywork or in the engine compartment, if you smell secretions or feces, or if you discover bite marks on cables and hoses or even tattered insulation mats, you should definitely have a professional take a look in your engine compartment.
Traces of martens on the bodywork: take a precautionary look under the hood. © istock/stgrafix
What does marten damage cost??
Since the 1980s, damage to cars by pine martens has been on the increase. martens cause around 60 million euros worth of damage to motor vehicles every year. According to GDV statistics, 207 martens were damaged in 2014.000 cases reported to insurers, who paid out around 63 million euros in insurance benefits for the resulting marten damage. The average cost per marten bite is approx. 304 euro. Compared to 2010, when the average cost was around 254 euros.
Marten damage and insurance: who pays??
Consequential damage can quickly run into five figures, so insurance can save you money and trouble. But there are a few things to consider, so always read the insurance policy carefully.
The liability of a car insurance is not liable in case of marten damage. Not all partial coverage insurance companies will cover the costs of bites; most insurance companies only offer these in additional tariffs. Here you should note that you often have to pay an excess, which is usually about 150 euros per claim.
Usually only the costs for direct damage are covered, but not for consequential damage. In the worst case, the gnawed brake hose is replaced, but not the serious accident. Even fully comprehensive insurance usually only reimburses direct damage. In areas with high marten activity, it’s best to consider special marten or supplementary insurance – it can quickly pay off.
Prevent and prevent marten damage?
- Martens do not like to enter a tightly woven wire under the engine.
- Metal plates that emit electric shocks drive martens away without endangering their health – they should be attached at the entry points.
- Marten scent mark remover sprays should help remove the scent marks.
- Ultrasonic waves, whose frequency we do not hear, but which martens find unpleasant, are supposed to drive the animals away.
Electric shocks can help to prevent martens from entering the house. © istock/philmoto
But always keep in mind that martens are initially deterred by these measures, but can then quickly get used to them. The most effective protection is therefore the complete sealing off of the engine compartment or at least the most sensitive components.
Marten in house and garden
- Where do martens live?
- How to recognize a marten in the house?
- Marten damage in the house and insurance: who pays??
- How to get a marten off the roof?
Where do martens live?
stone martens have always preferred to live in crevices and small caves. Since they now also live in human settlements as cultural successors, they are found here preferentially in walls, sheds, piles of stones, but also – most worrying for us – in attics.
In their quite large territory, they often cover long distances, switching between their many hiding places. If you think the marten has left your roof, it may just be in one of its other hiding places.
How to recognize a marten in the house?
Martens are nocturnal, so many residents only become aware of the new subtenants after a while through nocturnal rumbling in the attic – especially when the young animals are being raised. But also marten feces, fur tufts, scratch marks on plants and house facades or carrion and food remains can point to the rodents.
How do martens get under the roof?
stone martens can climb very well and even jump over two meters. You can therefore get onto the roof via trees, plants, gutters or walls. Even small ventilation slits, wall holes or loose roof tiles are enough to get into false ceilings and hollow spaces. Martens always have several escape routes and therefore also several entrances.
Martens can jump over two meters © istock/scigelova
What damage can martens do?
Martens burrow through tunnels in the roof insulation, so that it loses its insulating effect. It becomes even more critical if they gnaw on cables, power and antenna cables or elements of a solar system – this can result in high repair costs. These can also come to you, if the animal scratches the facade or even drags carrion into the house, so that maggots and flies form. In addition, martens can also transmit diseases such as rabies.
Since stone martens are very clean animals, they separate their sleeping area, pantry and toilet. The urine can then penetrate the ground in the same place and damage it or become very unpleasant due to the odor.
Marten damage in the house and insurance: who pays??
marten damage to the roof can often result in high costs. homeowner’s insurance does not cover it, because basically homeowner’s insurance insures the home. This usually only applies to damage caused by fire, pipe water, storms and hail.
So if you want to protect yourself against damage caused by wild animals, you should make sure that your insurance policy includes extended cover for them. If you have a photovoltaic system on the roof, an extra insurance for this normally also covers marten damage.
How to get a marten off the roof?
Many try to drive away martens with smells and loud music, knocking or ultrasound. This makes the stay unpleasant for the marten, but he usually only changes his hiding place for a while and then comes back again.
Marten traps kill the animals, but since martens are subject to hunting laws, they may not be set up by amateurs. In addition, this also offers no protection in the long term, because another marten will then probably take over the dwelling.
What methods really help?
In the long run, the only thing that helps is to find and close the loopholes. to recognize them, you can look for scratch marks on the facade or make a sandy area around your house to recognize the tracks.
But be careful! The holes should not be closed when the animal is in the house and certainly not when the marten has young animals. Otherwise the rodents starve to death or cause even more damage when they escape. It is generally recommended that you seek professional assistance in driving them away.
Even small gaps in the roof can become loopholes for martens. © istock/morrbyte
How to prevent marten damage?
Check your attic regularly and make sure that there are no loopholes for martens. Although it should not then come so far, you can also preventively seal off all lines and cables.
Marten is a very broad term and also covers, among other things, ermine, otter and even badger. In Germany, only two species are considered "real martens": the pine marten and the stone marten.
While pine martens live in the forest or sometimes in the park, stone martens have followed us into the city. As nocturnal solitary animals, we rarely see them, but they do explore quite large territories of approx. 10 to 200 hectares. They mark their territory with a secretion in order to defend it against conspecifics.
territorial fights at mating time
Other than assumed by many, martens do not hibernate and therefore like to visit the still warm engine compartment of cars in the cold season. However, territorial fights and engine damage caused by martens mainly occur between march and june/july, the animals’ mating season.
Many people do not know: martens do not hibernate © istock/seventhdayphotography
Marten become between 3 and 10 years old. From the second year of life they are sexually mature and mate, until in the following april usually 3-5 young are born. These are initially blind and are cared for by the mother for two months. At the end of september they are already independent.
hefty penalties for illegal marten hunting
Some marten species are protected, but this does not apply to the stone marten. However, it is subject to hunting laws and may therefore only be hunted with a hunting license. But even here there are a few things to consider, such as the hibernation period of the animals. The illegal hunting of martens can be punished with fines up to 5.000 euro or even a 5-year prison sentence can be imposed.
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