Identifying Vertebrate Damage to Vehicles

What is the nature of the damage?

Chipped Paint

  • Animals see their reflection in the paint and will sometimes peck at it.
  • Probably turkeys or other fowl cause chipped paint.


  • Species causing damage usually are identified by the size of the gnaw marks.
    • Mice = 1 to 2 mm
    • Porcupine
    • Rabbits = 1/4 inch
    • Rats= 4 mm. They don’t gnaw on smooth round items over 7/8″ in diameter.
    • Squirrels
    • Voles = 1/16 inch


  • Usually, nests are built by mice or similar rodents.

Windshield Wipers

  • A number of birds love to peck at windshield wipers, including:
    • Crows
    • Boat-tailed grackles
    • Turkey vultures