August 5, 2019 – West Bend, WI – It was not a normal day at Bob’s Main Street Auto & Towing after mechanics opened the hood of a Dodge Nitro 2007 and found a face staring back at them.
“We opened the hood and it looked at us for a quick second when everything got bright and then it scurried way back behind the steering shaft,” said service writer Greg Rate. “It kind of wedged itself back down in there and it took us a good 40 minutes to get it out unharmed.”
Rate said the animal was pretty scared. “We put some welding gloves on and tried to pull it out as softly as we could,” he said.
Initially Rate thought it was a raccoon. “Those are more common… or we’ve run into squirrels or mice or rodents because they like to chew on the plastic. We’ve also had a huge problem with them chewing on air filters but a woodchuck is the last thing I would have expected,” he said.
Shop owners Bill and Laurie Rate made sure everyone, including the woodchuck, stayed safe throughout the process.
“It was less than a productive morning…. but it sure wasn’t a boring day,” said Rate.
The owner of the vehicle was asked whether he had a rodent issue by his home and he admitted he saw a couple woodchucks running around; but he didn’t expect one to be under his hood.
The vehicle and its passenger made it to Bob’s Main Street Auto following an accident.
“The wheel of the vehicle came off on the highway and we towed it to the south store and it sat in the shop a couple days. So that little guy had a pretty wild ride,” Rate said.
After safely removing the 10-to-15 pound woodchuck staff took it down the Eisenbahn State Trail and let it go.