Chinese drivers fashion rat-proof car 'skirts'

Two cars in Nanning with rat-proof shields Image copyright Nanning TV
Image caption All wrapped up: Getting away in a hurry would be a challenge in Nanning

Residents of a city in southern China have been attaching "skirts" to their cars to protect them from rats.

Locals in Nanning, in the Guangxi autonomous region, came up with the unusual solution after rodents were found to be clambering inside the vehicles and gnawing through the wiring. Parked cars have been spotted around the city sporting the makeshift, wraparound shields - dubbed "car maxi skirts" in the Chinese media - some fashioned from fabric and chicken wire, others using bamboo.

"There are many rats in this area," local man Mr Zhao tells Nanning TV, adding that it's a particular problem during cold spells when rats like to snuggle down in warm places, like car bonnets. "Putting these around the cars is a good thing, and it can also prevent small children from scratching them," he says.

But it seems some of less-robust creations are no match for the rodents' gnashers. One woman shows the TV reporter a rat-sized hole in one car skirt. "Can't you see? The rats have nibbled a hole through it," she says.

Many social media users are amused by the curious sight, with one person writing on the popular NetEase web portal: "I like this elevated Guangxi humour." Some share the locals' frustrations, but others think they're overreacting. "Are they preparing against a large-scale rodent invasion?" one user asks.

One suggests a solution which doesn't involve wrapping your car in chicken wire: "They can raise a number of cats, we have a few strays on our estate, the rats don't dare come out."

But regional differences are also evident in many comments. Guangxi has a reputation for using both cats and dogs for meat, and is home to the infamous Yulin dog-eating festival, widely frowned upon elsewhere in China. "Guangxi people have eaten all the dogs and cats, that's why there's a rodent disaster," reads one comment.

Image copyright Nanning TV
Image caption Locals are hoping the improvised rat-deterrents will spare their cars' wiring

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