I would bet on it being from mice, chipmunks, or squirrels. The debris looks fresh too. The filter stopped the debris so you should be ok. Just clean it all out of there.
There are 2 spots where the little critter can get in the intake like that. Either from on top of the grill or behind the intake cowl. Try blocking them off while your car is parked and see if it returns.
Very grateful that whatever it is hasn’t chewed through anything. I pulled the entire assembly: air dam, and guard, filter housing, filter, etc. didn’t see droppings, chewing, scratch marks, nothing.
man going to try to remember to re-check in a few weeks and see if there’s any return.
Was just getting in the mood to maybe finally upload the tune, and this happens... what’s another few weeks/months
Yup, looks messy but the filter is doing its job. The rodent probably storing behind the grill somewhere and it's getting sucked in.
It's not too bad, back in Nov, a rat decided to sleep where in the engine bay and when I left in the morning for work, somehow it got caught in the serp belt and exploded. (not exaggerating, the engine bay was a mess). The serp belt snapped, got a stop driving light and I called roadside assistance for a tow to the dealer. $700 repair, and I couldn't even take revenge on the rodent. They did do a good job of steam cleaning everything though.
Before that, rat made a nest on top of my R56 battery and started a mini (no pun intended) fire when I left for work. Fortunately, only needed a new battery and positive cable. I could never properly get the burnt hair smell out of the HVAC.
I had this issue in my MK6. I cleaned the engine bay real well and put a few drops of peppermint extract into a spray bottle. Shoot a couple spots, never had an issue again. I read that rodents hate peppermint