2014-11-10 ferret chewing Audi
Nom nom nom … car. Audi rigged a vehicle with cameras to find out why these furry invaders enjoy chewing on expensive car parts.

Don't you just hate it when a stone marten chews through your brake line? What? That's never happened to you? Well, you obviously don't live in Germany. In an effort to better understand why wild martens (and other ferret-like saboteurs) in many a European country have a habit of nibbling on expensive car parts, Audi engineers rigged one of their vehicles with cameras, and with the help of an experienced animal trainer, unleashed a ferret or two into the engine bay (sort of like Big Brother: Mustelidae Edition). The goal was to observe where the animals go and what they prefer to chew on.

According to senior product manager at Audi of America, Mark Dahncke, "In Europe it is a common problem to have wild, ferret-like animals crawl into the engine bay of cars while parked and idle and bite through brake/power steering and other lines/hoses. Audi Deutschland's quality control is seeing where the ferrets go within the engine compartment, which lines they chew on. Based on the video, they will then look to use different materials that a ferret doesn't like biting into. Looks totally random, but it is an issue in Germany and Europe in general."

With high consumer expectations for reliability, the automakers have to ensure their products are efficient, safe and mammal-free.

You can watch the full video of the ferret experiment below (unless you are fluent in German we recommend watching it with friends and inventing your own subtitles – the first 25 seconds feel like the trailer for a thriller starring ferrets hell-bent on revenge).