Built from 2001 to 2013, the Chevrolet Avalanche was a segment-bending cross between a pickup and an SUV that could carry a wide variety of items thanks to its clever Midgate system. What no one at Chevrolet bothered to figure out is how many gallons of walnuts can be stored behind the truck's body panels, but a North Dakota man found the answer thanks to a red squirrel hoarding food for the winter.
Billy Fischer was stunned to find his second-generation Avalanche brimming with black walnuts. They were all over the engine bay, including behind the radiator and around the battery, and dozens were hidden in and under the body panels. He quickly realized that a red squirrel had spent several days carrying them from a tree in his yard to the truck-turned-buffet, where it hoped to live and feast during the winter months.
Squirrels aren't very talkative, so we don't know why it chose the Avalanche over any of the other cars in the tree's vicinity. We're guessing the cavernous engine bay was better suited to becoming a pantry than, say, one sized for a Subaru flat-four. Regardless, Fischer ended up having to dismantle most of the truck's front end (including the fenders, the grille, and the bumper) to take the walnuts out, but some were stashed in places only a squirrel could reach. "I still have some rolling around the frame, rail wells as well, that I can't get at," he told the Fargo-based Grand Forks Herald. At least it sounds like the squirrel was so busy hoarding food that he forgot to chew up the wiring.
Fischer pulled out about 42 gallons (or about 150 pounds) of walnuts, a number that's even more impressive when you consider the squirrel likely brought them in one at a time. He's giving the paw-picked bunch away on Facebook; black walnuts are edible raw or cooked.
This isn't the first time we've seen evidence that cars and rodents don't mix. Every year when fall begins to settle in, squirrels and other rodents look for a warm, safe place to store food and spend the winter, and cars are ideal candidates because they're full of nooks and crannies. If you park outside, especially if your car sits for several days at a time, take a peek under the hood to make sure it's not being reclaimed by furry squatters. While taking apart a truck's front end is annoying, dealing with a chewed-through wiring harness is even worse.