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Old 04-13-2019, 09:56 PM   #1
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Question How to deal with night light pollution and night critters

We camped at Gilbert Ray Campground in AZ last week and loved the night sky. We even attended a volunteer led effort to view stars through telescopes. After we walked back to our campsite and tried to continue to enjoy the stars, we couldn't due to our trailer neighbors having a string of lights circling their entire rig - on the ground! As we walked through the camp site - we saw several people doing this. Some lights circled both the trailers and the tow vehicles. What is up with this? The owners were inside the trailers and sure wouldn't see the lights much for any reason that I could figure. BTW I was trying to post a picture of this lovely spot - but for some reason I can't get that feature to work.
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:20 PM   #2
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Packrats chew camper and automotive wires. It is believed that units encircled
With the rope lighting will not be vermin targets. I do not know if this is true and do not usually camp where rats are a problem unless you count some university athletic teams. And light won’t deter them, they thrive on it.
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:26 PM   #3
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Got to wonder why the rats don't chew the rope lights.
I also wonder what animal is walking around with my rat trap as a lip ornament. Squirrel, skunk, raccoon?
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Old 04-14-2019, 04:46 AM   #4
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Stayed @ Gilbert Ray 4 weeks ago - we had lights under & around our 19’ & tow vehicle had hood open day & night with lights. We live 30 minutes South of Tucson & have dealt with Packrats for years (very destructive critters). We have NEVER seen that many Packrats (day & night) as we saw during our 2 day stay @ Gilbert Ray. They are nocturnal by nature & watched them with flashlights in our Campsite & under and around our new 19’ & tow vehicle. Beware that they are followed by hungry Rattlesnakes that emerge this time of year - so watch your dogs & children. Wonderful CG but left after 2 days due to this current infestation.
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Old 04-14-2019, 05:57 AM   #5
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Had the camper next to us in a FL state park with the led string lights around the entire perimeter of their site, not just around the camper.
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Old 04-14-2019, 06:17 AM   #6
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Here I always thought packrats were people like a neighbor I had, with newspapers and other items stacked ceiling high inside their house......
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Old 04-14-2019, 06:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RB Donath View Post
Stayed @ Gilbert Ray 4 weeks ago - we had lights under & around our 19’ & tow vehicle had hood open day & night with lights. We live 30 minutes South of Tucson & have dealt with Packrats for years (very destructive critters). We have NEVER seen that many Packrats (day & night) as we saw during our 2 day stay @ Gilbert Ray. They are nocturnal by nature & watched them with flashlights in our Campsite & under and around our new 19’ & tow vehicle. Beware that they are followed by hungry Rattlesnakes that emerge this time of year - so watch your dogs & children. Wonderful CG but left after 2 days due to this current infestation.
Hi: RB Donath... I don't want to make light of this camping style, I'm a bit of a "Packrat" myself, but I'd be alright till the rattlers get there. At that point I'm ready to break camp and move. No wonder cowboys wear such high boots!!! Alf
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Old 04-14-2019, 07:38 AM   #8
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What is with the night sky light pollution by travelers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RB Donath View Post
They are nocturnal by nature & watched them with flashlights in our Campsite & under and around our new 19’ & tow vehicle.

Mice with flashlights?! Clever little beasties! Where do they get them? How’d they learn how to use them? How do they press the button hard enough to turn them on? Do they change the batteries? I’d think tiny headlights would be more practical. So many questions. Shades of The Mouse and The Motorcycle.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:14 AM   #9
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I spent a week at Gilbert Ray & talked with some of the hosts. About 1/2 of them did lights under their vehicles & swore by them, the others at them. No idea if they really work. I didn't use them other than one night - I felt like I was lighting up the entire campground & put them away. Never had a problem with the rats myself.

I know they do have a pack rat problem at parts of Gilbert Ray (and other campgrounds in the desert). I watched 2 different people tear pack rat bedding out of their vehicle engines while there, and one of the hosts that doesn't use lights did mention that more than one vehicle was towed from the campground with damaged wiring. Some manufacturers use (or used) soy based insulation on their wiring & many animals found it delicious!
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:17 AM   #10
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We camped at Gilbert Ray, and at Organ Pipe National Monument we camped 10 feet away from a packrat nest. At the advice of well seasoned Arizona resident, who is a star gazer, we used three bars of Irish Spring soap in the engine compartment, a bar at each wheel, and Gain dryer sheets were also wrapped around the vulnerable wiring in the engine compartment. It's quite odoriferous to say the least. While I saw the packrat come and go at Organ Pipe our pickup was left alone. There is no need for obnoxious rope lights.

One camper just used bright motion lights underneath his camper and said they worked quite well. We now have a set of those also and find they double as lights when we walk to our camper. They rarely turn on, and underneath the truck aren't that obnoxious, but turn off after motion is undetected for 20 seconds. We have about 1/10 the false turn-ons from these lights vs the home motion puc lights we were using.

Enjoy,

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Old 04-14-2019, 08:26 AM   #11
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You want great night skies with no light pollution? No place darker than at the Natural Bridges National Monument campground, in Utah.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:35 AM   #12
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I don't know about packrats but up here we have regular rats and they get into car engines, and my mechanic says having lights in the area helps (like a lighted garage or lights on your car outside. So maybe it makes sense. It would seem under the vehicle was better than around it, though.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
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........ we used three bars of Irish Spring soap in the engine compartment, a bar at each wheel.....
I think the formula for Irish Spring has changed over the years. Now mice/rats think of it as a 'green snack.'
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:07 AM   #14
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Fresh Cab. This stuff works. Got mine at Tractors Supply.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:08 AM   #15
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I think the formula for Irish Spring has changed over the years. Now mice/rats think of it as a 'green snack.'


Perhaps there are Irish pack rats, no............
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:16 AM   #16
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We were at Organ Pipe a few weeks ago and there are official park signs suggesting that you leave the hood up and put lights in the engine compartment and under the vehicle. Most campers complied.

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Old 04-14-2019, 09:35 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I think the formula for Irish Spring has changed over the years. Now mice/rats think of it as a 'green snack.'
Considering the nest was 10 feet away and I saw the packrat, we never had a single bar nibbled on in the seven days we were there. Didn't put the Gain dryer sheets on the ground, only up in the engine compartment. However, now that we have the motion lights we've got a three-way attack on the buggers.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:54 AM   #18
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I too have camped at Gilbert Rey and is probably where I first became aware of the need to open your hood and use light as warm dark places attract the rodents.

Did have a wire chewed and it cost $300 to have repaired, which is on the very low side of what can happen if your wiring harness gets severely munched. The soy used in the wiring insulation does evidently attract them more, and our red positive battery terminal cover has the tell-tale signs of being munched on. During the eclipse in August 2017 while in Lander, WY I showed it to a neighbor who was with us there and when we opened his hood to check on an AC problem he was having a rodent went scampering.

Like the idea of the motion detector light as my rope LED lights from Harbor Freight are junk and keep crapping out and the aesthetic quality of the motion detector light is appealing as well.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:13 AM   #19
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When my golden retriever was a pup, he chewed on everything! Nothing was safe... garden hose, lilac TREE, back porch railing and on and on. I bought a spray from the pet store and applied it to everything I could think of. It was a bitter, spicy-hot liquid. So... I'm wondering if something like that would work on wiring, etc. of a motor vehicle? You'd definitely want to make certain it didn't stink when hot or won't damage rubber/plastics, etc.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:54 AM   #20
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Good catch on flashlights & funny! Not so much fun when you open your hood & find a huge Packrat nest & thousands of dollars of electrical damage. Their primary food source is Mesquite Beans, and their predators include Owls & Hawks, Coyotes, Snakes, Bobcats. They are nocturnal to avoid predators, and the thought is they avoid light sources to avoid being eaten. They are avid wire chewers to keep their teeth sharp. The reason Gilbert Ray has so many, is because the Parks policy of Natural Habitat & not picking up & cleaning deadwood and fallen debris. They use this debris to build large nests & surround them with fallen Cholla Cactus (think razor wire) for protection. We had a site with two nests 10 feet or less from our new 19’ & Tow Vehicle. Advice to newcomers to the Sonoran Desert ~ “When in Rome....”.
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