It seems like there's always something exciting to see in the parking lots of our local New York trailheads. Usually it's a funny bumper sticker or a cool new bike rack, but a but an absolutely ridiculous-looking trend may soon be stealing the show.

If you've camped or hiked in other areas of North America, this wild setup of cars, trucks, and SUVs that have been wrapped in chicken wire might not seem so strange. While the "skirts" are for a very good reason, we should all cross our collective fingers and hope we'll never have to do the same to our vehicles here in New York.

Porcupine Protection for Cars

This trend seems to have got its start over a decade ago in British Columbia, Canada, but has since spread to the United States. Strangely enough, the countless yards of wire, along with wooden stakes and rocks to secure it around each vehicle is all to combat one particularly pest: porcupines.

BeefBoulderCO via YouTube
BeefBoulderCO via YouTube

Car-Eating Porcupines

While there hasn't been a definitive answer as to why, Canadian porcupines, especially those in British Columbia parks, have developed a taste for cars. Specifically, tires, brake lines, and hoses have all become targets for these hungry critters, with disastrous consequences. From British Columbia parks:

Imagine slogging your way back down a trail after a weekend of backpacking only to discover… flat tires? Severed brakes? Porcupines are nocturnal creatures who like to chew rubber. Nom nom nom. Tires? Yum. Brakes? Yes, please! Radiator hoses? What a treat!

Because of this danger, parks have issued warning to visitors to "porcupine-proof" their vehicles, with instructions to "wrap chicken wire or hardware cloth around the bottom of your vehicle and secure it with sticks and stones, making sure there are no gaps for porkies to crawl underneath." But will this problem extend to New York?

Porcupine Populations in New York State

Porcupines live in New York state, but despite sightings here in the Hudson Valley, there have luckily been no reports of any of the spiky rodents having an appetite for car parts. That being said, hikers in western states like Colorado have anecdotally reported the need to porcupine-proof their cars as well. Either way, if you begin to see vehicles in your local trailhead lots with bizarre metal wraps, you'll know exactly what's going on.

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