Burrowing Owl Stuck in Glue Trap

provided to The SantivaChronicle.com

A burrowing owl after being stuck in a glue trap

Glue traps, also known as glue boards, may be a familiar sight at grocery and home improvement stores or on the internet. Upon first appearance, they seem like a safe or easy solution to a pest problem, but in reality these traps are one of the cruelest and most dangerous methods of elimination. Glue traps are responsible for more suffering than virtually any other form of wildlife control on the market. In fact, there are no claims that it provides a quick death or a solution to rodent infestations.

Glue traps are trays coated with an extremely sticky adhesive. Beyond being inexpensive, cruel, and inhumane, they are indiscriminate as they often endanger non-target wildlife, pets, and even small children. Although, when set, the traps are intended for rats or mice, different species of wildlife find themselves in this sticky and deadly situation.

Any animal that touches the adhesive board is immediately stuck and, in a panic, will usually suffer a slow death of starvation or suffocation. Commonly, animals stuck have been known to gnaw off their own limbs in an effort to free themselves. It can take anywhere between three hours or five days for a stuck animal to die. Until the point of death, the subject will continue to suffer, starve, and exhaust itself inflicting more injury trying to wiggle free.

A snake caught in a glue trap

Animals stuck in glue traps often suffer injuries to their delicate wings, skin, body, or legs. Bird feathers are often damaged or mangled beyond repair from the adhesive. Sadly, many birds caught in glue traps do not survive or have such grave injuries when admitted that they must be humanely euthanized. Snakes when caught will tear the skin from their body in an effort to escape. Though intended to kill rodents, these traps are not effective at eliminating rodent problems. Some sustainable and long-lasting solutions for effective rodent control include removal of the cause or source attracting them to the location.

On March 19, an adult burrowing owl was admitted to CROW after being found stuck on a glue trap. Upon presentation, the owl had glue on its beak, bruising on the left wing likely from struggling, and its feathers and body were entirely covered in oil after being removed from the trap by the finder. Radiographs revealed there were no fractures. The owl was immediately bathed with Dawn dish soap and blow dried to remove the oil; however, the owl needed several repeat baths to rid the oil substance completely. After a final cleaning and supplemented dust baths, the patient was moved outside to start flight conditioning in a larger enclosure to continue recovery.

In the event where an animal is found in a glue trap, please treat it as an emergency situation and bring them to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately, trap and all so the animal can safely be removed. Tissue paper or sand can be placed on any exposed areas of glue to prevent other parts of the animal from getting stuck. While oil can be used to release the animal from the glue, the oil then presents a new set of issues for the animal, so it is best to let the professionals handle removing it. Even if the animal seems relatively unharmed, there is a good chance there are injuries gone unnoticed or the animal may need to be treated for dehydration or extreme exhaustion.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (3/20-3/29):
There were 79 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including three bald eagles, four brown pelicans, an eastern screech owl, a diamondback terrapin, nine Virginia opossums, four eastern cottontails, a little blue heron, a gopher tortoise, and a burrowing owl. Recent Releases include a loggerhead sea turtle, two royal terns, a blue jay, an eastern box turtle, a common grackle, and a swallow-tailed kite. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year! Want to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation? Stop by CROW’s Visitor Education Center at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road.

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to www.crowclinic.org. If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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