back to article Flaming kamikaze squirrel torches car

A New Jersey woman's Toyota Camry last week suffered a sciurine kamikaze attack during which a flaming squirrel fell onto the vehicle, slid into the engine compartment and provoked an explosion which destroyed the parked vehicle, the Jersey Journal reports. Lindsey Millar, 23, and bruv Tony, 22, were at home in Bayonne last …

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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Surely an urn...

    would be more appropriate?

  2. Nick Pettefar
    Flame

    Was the bonnet open?

    I'm having trouble visualising this insurance claim...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Insurance fraud?

    Ok, let's look at this again.

    Said animal was on power lines and chew through them. He's not earthed so how did he catch fire?

    2. How did it get into the engine bay?

    3. If said car "blew up" how did they identify the squirrel?

  4. Peter D'Hoye
    Flame

    I'm still wondering...

    ...how a squirrel can slide into the motor compartiment

  5. Edward Rose
    Black Helicopters

    Damn thing knew what it was doing!

    I'm telling ya', either these squirrels are being mind controlled or the little buggers are suicidal. I'm sure these stories are more frequent now.

    Back home they would wait in the trees on the roadside, and as a car came they'd dive for the wheels. Is forest life that stressful?

  6. EvilFairy

    did anyone

    film it?

  7. Steve
    IT Angle

    @Stu

    Don't forget that most US homes are suplied by overhead lines from a pole-mounted transformer. Those lines will carry live & neutral twisted together, so when a set of small teeth completes the circuit, bye-bye Tufty...

    Still don't know how it ended up in the engine compartment, though.

  8. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    RE: Insurance fraud

    The squirrel wouldn't have to be earthed, just in contact with two wires with different voltages in relation to each other (such as a telephone wire). Or, he may have also been in contact with the earthed sheath of a cable TV cable, which I remember as often sharing poles with other wiring in the US.

    And squirrels are pretty small under all that fur, if it had fallen at the base of the windscreen it could have gone into the area where the wipers sit, and from there either slid through the air gap into the engine bay, or melted its way through the plastic tray that is there on most cars. I have read of fruit bats causing underbonnet fires in cars in Malaysia, and they are bigger.

    My own view is that it was intentional - obviously this squirrel was a patriotic critter incensed (quite literally) by the sight of a foreign motor....

  9. Rob Holmes
    Joke

    @Nick Pettefar and Peter D'Hoye

    Well you know what the build quality is like on American cars, I'm sure a flaming squirrel would fit between the frankly rediculous panel gaps left by the shoddy manufacturing process.

    ;-)

  10. Dougthedug
    Pirate

    Personalising the squirrel

    I take it the squirrel's name was "Squirrel Nextofkin"?

  11. J
    Flame

    Arc

    I assume the squirrel was standing on the insulation. When he hit the live wire, he reduced the airgap by 8-9 inches, allowing an arc to the metal supports, and completing a circuit. This probably happened near a transformer, rather than a bog-standard power line.

    Let's assume that he squirrel was rapidly raised to a very high temperature by this. His (or indeed her) fur would have quickly burned away, together with much of the skin. Combined with loss of fluid, this would have considerably reduce the squirrel diameter.

    After falling onto the bonnet, the squirrel probably dripped burning squirrel fat through the gap near the windshield, which in turn set fire to oil or electrical cables in the engine compartment, leading eventually to the complete loss of the car.

    Face it, the whole thing's made up by some local paper to boost sales just before their next advertising drive :-|

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    @Stu

    1) if the cable in question was like the pole-to-home ones here, it was insulated two-core with an active and a neutral, so it is possible. A flatmate of mine once had a dead rat in his ceiling that would roast whenever the light was switched on. ewwww.

    2) I can see no way for it to fall in to an engine bay. I guess if it was alive but burning it could have climbed in from beneath in a panic?

    3) I have trouble believing a car engine would 'explode' or even burn significantly while switched off from such a case. They always explode for little reason in movies but in the real world, exploding cars are quite exceptional.

    I tend to agree this sounds iffy.

  13. Peter D'Hoye
    Happy

    @Rob Holmes

    It was a Toyota Camry....

    I did Google for pics of that car before posting the question ;)

  14. Rose

    'S'bloody obvious, innit

    The squirrel was working for Al Quaeda and it got the instructions for the whole thing off the Internet.

  15. Lickass McClippers
    Boffin

    Sqwerls...

    ...are pure evil ... the sooner you peeps realise that and take appropriate action, the better ... those of us already in the know are aware that sqwerls consist entirely of dark evil anti-matter, and were sent here by malicious otherworldy powers to wipe us out ...

  16. evilbobthebob
    Gates Horns

    Only In America

    I say no more...

  17. pctechxp

    Hey Tone got a new motor?

    It's got an anti-squr-rrel paint job.....

    Nah think I'll abandon my Alexei Sayle impression.

    Back to work for me

  18. Martin Glenn
    Coat

    Sounds Like a RARE occurence

    Was this a level in Conkers Bad Fur Day!

    Or maybe RARE were testing out designs for Conkers 2. Alight & Exploded!

  19. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Hmmm

    So, no Ice Age sequels anymore, eh?

  20. Rachel

    Camera Phone

    Oh... come on! Where is the camera phone when you need it. I was sooo hoping for a vid.

  21. Steve Wedge
    Coat

    Two lives & a neutral, actually

    Overhead US wiring consists of two "hot" leads and a neutral. The hot leads are opposite ends of the 240V winding of aforementioned "Pole Pig" transformer, with a centre tap going to neutral. Thus, if Fluffy was sitting on the bare neutral and chewed into one of the hot leads, he's have 120V with essentially unlimited current. This is enough to fry him (I've seen charred mice in open 120V electrical boxes), though to set alight would take some doing!

    The higher voltage on typical US overhead lines is 2400V, but these wires are typically separated by at least 2 - 3 feet, above the lower-voltage lines. CATV and phone run separately, below the 240V lines. Thus the whole arrangement has the highest voltages at the top, progressing to low voltage and comms at the bottom.

    How he opened the bonnet after being electrocuted (forget the minor inconvenience of not having an opposable thumb) I will never know...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Alien Grey

    Not a red, so that's all right. One less shape-shifter for pitchfurking.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Revenge of the Roadkill

    You're right - there's no way a squirrel could accidentally get to the engine and cause an explosion. It's got to be a guerilla attack by the Roadkill Resistance Army!

  24. Bounty
    Pirate

    Mythbusters

    I belive this is a job for the Mythbusters.

  25. Michael Fletcher

    exploding fauna

    Once, a pelican exploded outside my place of employment, blacking out the power to our building, and setting fire to some scrubland near a drainage pond.

    From what we could tell, the unsuspecting avian had landed on a power line, had himself a big stretch, and touched two cables with his wings. The resulting short flashed his fluids to steam, blew his guts open and sprayed roasted pelican intestines for metres around, while he fell, burning, to end up draped over a low fence among tall grass below the power line.

    Interesting morning, that was.

    His pelican girlfriend was still over in the pond, alone and sad. Those birds mate for life, I'm told.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Guerilla attack

    I, for one, welcome our new sciurine overlords.

  27. Jon Tocker

    Squirrels hate us

    They have it in for humankind - as recorded by Daniel Meyer:

    http://lifeisaroad.com/stories/2004/10/29/neighborhoodHazardorWhyTheCopsWontPatrolBriceStreet.html

    Ninja squirrels and kamikaze squirrels - animal behaviour specialists have no idea why they have this fascination with Japanese fighting techniques, but the pattern is obvious and disturbing...

  28. John Folken Wolf
    Pirate

    Re: Squirrels hate us

    A quick look at the "Related Items" section there confirms that:

    http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/article.html?in_article_id=65079&in_page_id=2

    They ARE indeed testing new ways of suppressing us all, backed by their Masters (same guys running the whole ROTM gang)...

  29. Dalen
    Coat

    @Anonymous

    Damn, you beat me to it.

    P.S. Joe, if that was you, you're so getting locked in the server room for stealing my phrase. Besides, it was "_suicide-bombing_ sciurine overlords".

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Walnuts and acorns

    The squirrels on the campus where I went to Uni would pelt students on the walkways with nuts from the safety of the branches. The squirrels on campus are so famous that one of the dorm buildings has a Squirrelfest celebration annually and uses pictures of squirrels on hats and tee-shirts as mascots.

  31. Alan Donaly
    Happy

    it happens

    A friend of mine was sitting looking out his apartment window about eye level with a transformer on a pole when the squirrel bit and was turned to a fire ball then the power went out he was kind of shocked by it but the kids thought it was cool he didn't say what happened next I take it their wasn't too much left to burn.The squirrels motto "live fast die young and leave a flat patch of fur on the highway" probably ought to include self incineration some way.

  32. Kwac
    Flame

    Why the doubts?

    Haven't the doubters noticed that engine compartments have a bottom, as well as top (held down by clip) and paneled sides?

    Flames and fuel lines tend not to mix to well.

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