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Yes - if the air filter was destroyed by the vermin and a little bit of material got trapped between the valve and the valve seat, it may cause a loss of compression. I worked on one that mice had carried grains of wheat into the air box and one grain of wheat got smashed between the valve and the seat holding the valve open, but stuck enough that it did not 'hammer out' and combustion would not burn it out. I was able to open the valve and with the carb and exhaust removed, reach through the port with a round wire brush ans brush the valve and seat to remove the grain remnant so the engine would start and avoided tearing down the engine to clean the valve and seat. Sometimes you can used compressed air via the spark plug hole to blow bits of material out of an open valve.
 
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