Customer Finds Dead Mouse In Toyota

Greg was replacing the speakers in his 2003 Camry and uncovered a stinky little tomb in the rear of the car. He thinks it must have happened at the plant, but I can’t tell. Who wants to weigh in on whether the mouse tried to build a nest, or whether Toyota used mouse-enhanced stuffing on the assembly line? Oh, there are pics after the jump, but I made one of them less disturbing by adding a little sweater.

About a month ago I decided to upgrade my Toyota Camry 03 Speakers from stock to JBL speakers. To go about this was no easy task. After disconnecting and fitting the new tweeters (the speakers closest to the front windshield) and the door speakers. I go about taking out the back seats, rear sidings, and carpeting in order to reach the speakers in the rear. At first, I wonder about a strong mildew smell lingering back there as I go about this task.

As I reach for the harness on the right side I try to feel into some sort of insulation or stuffing in between the carpeting in the rear and plastic. Pulling out a chunk of stuffing to scour through feeling something like a harness, it made me question what I was holding. I see a dead mouse that I literally touched. I instantly dropped what I was holding and stood there in shock for a few minutes. You could say my heart raced and skipped as I grasp hold of what I just saw.

A dead mouse was the last thing I would expect to find in the rear of my car. The area the mouse was in could not be easily accessed and I believe there was no way it would have gotten in the years I have owned this car. The mouse was perfectly preserved, dried out, and hollow like one of those museum animals, yet it stunk. The area the mouse was in was more or less perfectly enclosed as no air circulation enters the area. Enclosed, I have images that are not for the faint of heart.

The odd thing is that the stuffing is only on the right side, there was none on the left side. I did remove all of the stuffing on the right side as it did not seem necessary to leave a putrid, foul pile of string and foam there. I still love my car despite this unfortunately find, the only explanation is from the Toyota factory in 2003 on the Toyota manufacturing line, a worker must have just grabbed a handful of insulation and stuck it in there not knowing there is a dead mouse among the stuffing. This has brought about the question whether in the future I should buy another Toyota Camry.

The fact that the stuffing is only on one side makes me wonder whether the mouse tried to build a nest, but the way the mouse is packed into the stuffing makes it look like they came pre-assembled. But then, why stuff only one side of the car?

Maybe you can ask Toyota to explain why the rear section would be stuffed that way, which will then at least help you determine whether the mouse was a factory add-on or an uninvited guest at some later point. Here’s some contact info for Toyota:

Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America
25 Broadway, New York, NY
(212) 785-2447?

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc
19001 S Western Ave Torrance, CA 90501-1196
(310) 468-4000


Edit Your Comment

  1. endless says:

    I would have figured it would have decomposed a lot more if it were vintage 2003.

    But I am DEFINITELY not an expert on that.

    • Aphex242 says:

      @endless: +1

    • chiieddy says:

      @endless: Agreed. In addition, mice can get through the TINIEST spaces. You’d be amazed. It probably looked like a great place to winter and he died of CO2 poisoning.

    • rambo76098 says:

      That mouse looks a lot better than one that was dead for two weeks before I took my dash apart and removed it from the blower. I’d say the OP’s one got in there recently.

      IIRC Toyota is notorious for not sealing off their cars well from small critters.

    • Jfielder says:

      @endless: Exactly… If that mouse had been dead in there for 5-6 years it’d be a pile of bones, and maybe skin and fur, and definitely with no smell. Even large animals (deer) will become almost entirely decomposed after two years. That mouse has been dead a month at the most, I’d bet.

      • floraposte says:

        @Jfielder23: Yup. Mice get in cars with some frequency, as I know to my annoyance, and they get in spaces that people would never imagine. They also chew on wiring and make nests that block airflow.

  2. FangDoc says:

    I think the mouse built a nest. Even mummified, I wouldn’t expect the fur to look that good if it had been in there since the factory, and the smell suggests a more recent demise as well.

    As far as “no way it would have gotten in”: a mouse can enter your home through a hole the diameter of a pencil, according to my exterminator. What looks impossible to a human is what makes the little buggers so darn efficient.

    Call CSI: Rodentia!

    • shalegac says:

      @FangDoc: Just had an exterminator out last week who said the same thing. Also a few years ago my car wouldn’t start in the middle of winter. I popped the hood and there was a pile of dog food. They were heading to the engine for warmth.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @FangDoc: yeah, that thing looks way to “fresh” to have come with the car. Having had hamsters, gerbils, and pets that eat mice and rats I know they can get into/out of just about anything even close to the size of thier heads.

    • humphrmi says:

      @FangDoc: Quite correct. A mouse can effectively collapse its own skull and ribs in order to get through holes that seem impossible. Some say a dime sized hole, others have said holes as small as a pencil eraser. THey are very resourceful.

  3. teknowaffle says:

    It almost looks more like a pet hamster or gerbil

  4. bornonbord says:

    I found a rats nest in the air-intake of a motorcycle stored in a shed for the winter. Had a mouse cook on an car engine after driving for an hour.

    This shit happens – vermin can get anywhere. You clean it up and move on.

  5. Anathema777 says:

    I think the mouse is a more recent acquisition. There are lots of reports of mice nesting in cars as the weather gets colder. And they can get into some pretty tight places. You’d be surprised what they can fit through.

  6. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    Chris, the sweater is a nice touch, but I would have prefered a little motorcycle helment. The Mouse and the Motorcycle was my favorite mouse movie as a kid.

  7. redskull says:

    Believe it or not, I’ve had a mouse in my car on two separate occasions. The first mouse sort of got caught in the heater fan, and the second ran across my leg while I was driving. I actually had to set a trap to catch that one.

    Seems unbelievable that a moving vehicle could be infested with mice, but it happens.

  8. Hogan1 says:

    Based on my experience with deceased rodents, it looks a lot fresher then 2003. As many have already commented they can squeeze in into tiny places. There are plenty of access points into a car and this little fellow seems to have found his way in through one.

    So basically:

    There’s no way to prove it came from the plant this way and asking for a letter of apology is just stupid. Move on with your life.

    • JennQPublic says:

      @Hogan1: “Based on my experience with deceased rodents…”

      That’s a sentence I hope I’m never comfortable typing.

      With that said, you’re right- move on already. The mouse was in your car, not your box of Wheaties. Formal letter of apology? Please tell me you’re joking!

  9. Red Cat Linux says:

    Ugh – I dont think that I’d want to have touched that either, but …geeze dude – It’s a 2003.

    Your car has had years to pick up little passengers like this. I wouldn’t automatically think “factory installed” upon finding a dead critter in a 2003 Toyota in 2009, and it shouldn’t change your mind about whether you like the car or not.

    ..As long as you don’t find Jimmy Hoffa in the stuffing.

  10. SkuldChan says:

    Factories are relatively hostile places for mice (lots of people, bright lights, noise etc) – I highly suspect that mouse made its home after the car was built.

  11. tbax929 says:

    Didn’t we recently have a story on Consumerist about a mouse getting into a can of soda? Or did I imagine that?

  12. JulesNoctambule says:

    ‘The Secret of NIMH’ is on right now.

    Oh, poor little Timothy mouse! Guess moving day didn’t go so well after all.

  13. henrygates says:

    Likely entered recently. Even in an enclosed space the mouse would have been completely decomposed if it had been in there since it was built. Poor little guy.

  14. zentex says:

    Dude finds a mouse in his car and instantly convinces himself that it was Toyota’s fault sex years ago? (remember kids, if it stinks its still fresh!…not 6 years old)

    Maybe…just maybe…you have mice OR…maybe you have random mouse that snuck into your car when you were at random place?

    Never, NEVER underestimate the power of a rodent. Their bodies are not like ours, if they can get a nose in, the WHOLE body follows.

    Mind you, I’m not blaming the OP, I’m just saying the OP seem like one of them sue-first-ask-questions-later kinda people based on how the submission was written…aaaand they aren’t using deductive reasoning in their assumptions. Sorry, I just see so many faults with this that I cannot side with the OP.

    • Scoobatz says:

      @zentex: This is why I never shop at Lowes… I mean, Target… I mean, Circuit City? Wait, let me read this again…


      Yes, you should never, ever buy a Toyota again. In fact, don’t take your chances. Never buy a car again.

    • Sudonum says:

      A friend of mine had a rat get in her car in a parking garage. She left the garage, got on the interstate, and the rat decided he didn’t want to be in the car anymore, started running back and forth across the dash board. I’m surprised she didn’t hit somebody or something as she just started panicking. She managed to get to the side of the highway opened the door and got out screaming, and the rat did the same. After calming down she went back to the garage and pitched a fit, but they didn’t believe her. What, someone would make that story up to get free parking?

  15. dveight says:

    Sorry OP, but I have to called BS on the mouse being there since the car was manufactured. Having worked in car audio for seven years, I can pretty much tell you that there is no place in a car that is air tight and that a mouse cannot get to.

    If you ask for a formal letter of apology, they most likely will give you one, but I honestly doubt that they should issue one.

    • failurate says:

      @dveight: It seems pretty clear from that he is wanting free schwag or cash from Toyota.

      “This has brought about the question whether in the future I should buy another Toyota Camry.”

      It’s fun to photochop sweaters on mices, but this story smells worse than that rather fresh looking mouse.

  16. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Reminds me of an old story about a guy who took his spanking new Type I VW Beetle back to the dealer complaining about an odd rattle. Technician opened the trunk lid and found two beer bottles behind the spare tire.

  17. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Looks like the mouse is recent and the insulation material you found it is looks to be what the mouse harvested from other parts of the car to make a nest…

    But… those look like cool shades in the mouse picture just above its head.

  18. AHemp says:

    When I lived in the country and drove a ’93 Camry, the car became home (and tomb) to many a mouse. It didn’t come from the factory.

  19. failurate says:

    “…the only explanation is from the Toyota factory in 2003 on the Toyota manufacturing line…”

    That line deserves a huge eye roll. We’re going to need a series of sympathetic OP’s to make up for the meatballs that are being posted so far today.
    It’s questionable victim Monday.

  20. gollerpr says:

    without a doubt, the mouse recently gained access to the panel and died. It happens all the time. Had the mouse been in there since ’03 that mouse would have
    a.) Stunk the car to high heaven long ago
    b.) Decomposed to nothing but bone by this point…

  21. RogerX says:

    Agreed with the majority, this is a recent addition, and the “padding” is shredded from other areas in a nest-building effort. No idea on cause of death, but that ain’t a 6-year-old dead mouse, to be sure!

  22. Brazell says:

    It probably crawled into the space and died. It would not be in that condition if it were from the factory, 6 years ago.

  23. theblackdog says:

    Awesome tag on this one Consumerist.

  24. Mknzybsofh says:

    The OP is overreacting. Throw the damn thing away.
    “The mouse was perfectly preserved, dried out, and hollow like one of those museum animals, yet it stunk.”
    I doubt that this item would still have an smell if it was stuck in there since 2003.

    “The area the mouse was in was more or less perfectly enclosed as no air circulation enters the area.”
    It might look that way but I am sure that there is air circulation going on. Nothing is air tight everything is made to allow for some ‘breathing’. If your going to not buy another Toyota because of this then I would suggest not buying anything with an enclosed space.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @Mknzybsofh: He should stay away from buying anything really. If he really wants to blame toyota for Mr. Jingles there, he is going to blame the next company for something else.

  25. shadowkahn says:

    Are those. . Goggles. . .by the mouse’s head in the top picture? And is that a red shirt it’s wearing?

    I think the OP killed Ralph S. Mouse.

  26. Pixel says:

    To add to the above comments, if there was only the “stuffing” on one side and not the other, what makes you think that it was put in at the factory? Having worked on all sorts of cars from the 60s through to new cars, I have never seen one where handfuls of stuffing were crammed somewhere at the factory.

    That is a mouse nest, built by the mouse from insulation from elsewhere in the car, and it was done more recently than 2003.

    You would be *amazed* at where mice get to and what they do. I have known several classic car guys who had parts of their cars’ interior ruined by mice. Hell, my girlfriend had three air filters chewed up by mice and the airbox filled with dog food(no dogs within 2 houses of where she lived) until we installed a screen over the end of the air intake.

  27. APlusAuto says:

    Critters get in the weirdest places, I’ve seen some shocking crap over the years in my customer’s cars. In the last year alone I’ve found a dead mouse in between a customer’s hubcap and I went to go pick up another customer’s car from their house and found half a gecko in the space between where the door closes and the front fender. That last one scared the crap out of me. I wouldn’t have noticed it except for the fact that it started moving towards me as I was getting in the car. Yes, it was still alive even after being sliced in half.

    You’re not the first to find a dead critter in your car and you won’t be the last. It’s definitely not a reason not to buy another car from Toyota.

  28. LastError says:

    That is no 6-year-old mouse.

    Someone in my family once had a similar incident. They had a sofa which was getting old and smelly and eventually came time to throw it out, so my brother and I went to do the work, which involved dismantling the sofa.

    Long story short, there was a very dead rat inside the sofa between the frame the dust cover thing they put on the bottom of furniture. It was very dry, must have been dead for a while. The homeowner had plenty of cats so rodents should not have been an issue. Nobody had idea how it got there.

    The unpleasant part is that relative had been sleeping ON that sofa for a while, literally sleeping inches away from the dead rat. Yuck.

    It turned out the smelly aroma of the sofa was all due to the rat, not anything else. I will never forget that smell. God.

  29. unpolloloco says:

    I definitely read “moose” at first. Camry trunks are big, but not *that* big.

    Anyway, sounds like it’s a mouse that found a warm spot in the car.

  30. boomerang86 says:

    Our pest control guy told us that if you have any openings the thickness of a pencil or greater, a mouse can squeeze through.

    One time I found a mouse nest, complete with live infant mice, under the rear seat of a 1973 Dodge Colt I was running speaker wire through!

  31. tape says:

    I get the feeling that the OP doesn’t know much about either mice or decomposition.

  32. docrice says:

    Mouse is fresh, and Camry’s aren’t that hard to install stereo equipment in. Sorry OP, but it’s gonna be tough getting someone to side with you…

    • dveight says:

      @docrice: Have to disagree with you on this……..rear speakers for 2003 Camrys are a bitch to install, you have to remove the rear seat back, side panels, and the back panel. Those are not fun to work on.

      As for the mouse is fresh, agree with you on that one, no way that mouse is 6 years old.

      OP needs to get a clue.

  33. tn_avenger says:

    Thanks for the pics. I think I will skip lunch today.

  34. qwerty001984 says:

    No way this came from a plant. If you ever visited a toyota plant you can see how clean they are. A toyota plant has no food for a mouse.

  35. zerok00l420 says:


    you deserve that lil’ bugger!

  36. TIMCHUCK says:

    I parked my car at long term parking at a rural airport for a couple of days.

    When I returned there was a live mouse nested in it,

  37. zentex says:

    interesting…the part where the OP was wanting an apology letter from toyota disappeared…

  38. arnoldziffel says:

    I had a mouse make a home out of my car’s fan/heater enclosure. They get everywhere. To make it worse, the car is a limited production (1 of 500) so anything that got wrecked was hard to replace. I couldnt believe, but it ate thru the seals in the firewall to find it’s way in. Could have been worse, at least it wasn’t a beehive!

  39. thenamcam says:

    old car new mouse

  40. blueVan says:

    If i remember right if a mouse can fit his head in a hole the rest is gravy for them. Also, I would be more suprised if a car made it through its entire life with a mouse or two getting into it… so just never get out i suppose

  41. Farodelava says:

    A few years ago I was dropping my son off at daycare, as I slid the sliding door open out on my feet fell about a half dozen baby mice…I saw the mom run back in the door well into my car. Coincidentally my rear window washer had stopped working. We later found out the mouse (mice?) had chewed through the tube leading to the washer reserve. It was a real ewww moment!!

  42. fyi1rob says:

    A Toyota plant in 2003 would have been hopping 24*7 with lights and people mulling about .. this mouse came after that

  43. MrEvil says:

    Yeah, the OP has owned the car for 6 years. I really think the mouse got in there after he purchased the vehicle. Not from the factory.

    First of all, Mice generally only hang out where there’s a plentiful food supply. Car factories generally aren’t those places. They mainly hang out in grocery stores, grain elevators, and human dwellings, or in the wild.

    Second, Mice have very pliable skeletons that allow them to squeeze through gaps some would think would be impossible for them to get through. While the OP can’t fathom the mouse getting in there once the car was assembled. I’m pretty certain he found a way into that area. However, the mouse could have found an entrance that was one-way only and gotten trapped. Or he was poisoned and got in there to die.

  44. Firethorn says:

    I’ve had the ‘dog food in the air filter’ before – got the car at a discount because the seller thought the car didn’t have enough power. It had enough power for me, it wasn’t until we got to doing the maintenance that we found the air filter compartment completely stuffed with dog food. I had a lot more power after clearing that out…

    MIce can get into surprising areas. Remember, even if it’s ‘well sealed’, they can chew through the seal, and the opening will likely be smaller than you think. And given the pictures, it’s not sealed well enough to prevent a determined mouse getting into that area.

  45. APSnCO says:

    It doesn’t take long for rodent types to make a cozy home somewhere in your vehicle. I’ve had beautiful nests built in my car’s engine complete with flowers, pieces of cactus and chewed up fabric.

    One fall day, we parked my husband’s truck in the garage. The next morning we got in the car and headed to work. About 2 miles into our trip, smoke started billowing out of the engine. We opened the hood to find a nest ablaze and hoses chewed up.

  46. techphets says:

    “the only explanation is from the Toyota factory in 2003 on the Toyota manufacturing line, “

    Weird. People here seem to think there is more than one explanation.

    “This has brought about the question whether in the future I should buy another Toyota Camry.”

    Are you nuts? Seriously? So you think other automakers have policies in place to prevent things like this from happening and that Toyota, one of the world’s leading automakers either doesn’t know about them or doesn’t care to implement them?