Danger of Glue Traps

provided by Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

This adult male Blue Jay was taken to CROW after being caught in a glue trap.

There are many ways to deter or rid your house of pests and unwanted critters, but often times these methods can be dangerous and deadly. Not only are targeted animals cruelly affected, but other non-target animals end up suffering the consequences of inhumane methods. Poisons like rodenticide, anthrax, along with glue and snap traps often are the result of fatalities in non-target wildlife. Glue traps (also known as glue boards) usually consist of a tray with an extremely sticky adhesive. When unwanted (or target) pests such as mice or rats run across the boards, their fur or limbs get stuck to the trap. The homeowner can then choose to remove the animal (which is not an easy task), but often times the animal will suffer a slow and painful death from either exhaustion, suffocation, or starvation.

Non-target wildlife can unintentionally be trapped; birds of prey and snakes can be poisoned second-handedly through the consumption of rodenticide poisoned rats and mice. Additionally, smaller birds like songbirds can also be trapped in glue traps. This can cause damage to their bodies and feathers, potentially causing them to lose their primary feathers which could result in loss of flight. These methods of extermination are indiscriminate and there is no telling what animals will be harmed or killed when someone sets traps or poison in their house. Snakes can have scales ripped from their body which can cause their skin to break open often resulting in death. Once an animal is stuck on a glue trap, they will get themselves increasingly more stuck as they attempt to free themselves. This can result in skin damage, broken limbs, and animals have even been known to take extreme measures in order to break free which includes chewing off their own appendages. Animals could struggle for days leading to dehydration, exhaustion, starvation, and, ultimately, death.

On Jan. 5, and adult male Blue Jay (#22-16) was brought into CROW after being caught in a glue trap. Although the finders were well-meaning and tried to cut the bird out of the glue trap, the jay suffered loss of critical flight feathers on both wings from this removal method. In addition, he suffered from bodily abrasions while struggling to escape the glue trap. The bird was given pain medication and will continue to be closely monitored for possibility of flight. If you find an animal trapped in a glue trap, the best thing to do is pour flour on the remainder of the trap in order to prevent the animal from further injury and then call your nearest animal hospital. In the event there are no wildlife rehabilitation facilities nearby and the animal is struggling, please NEVER cut or try to pull an animal from one of these traps. Successful removal usually requires a lot of patience. Always sprinkle flour on the remaining adhesive then using small amounts of olive oil or vegetable oil to slowly start removing the animal from the glue adhesive. Using oil also requires washing the oil off the animal once it is removed from the trap. Best case scenario for the trapped animal is to reduce the ability for it to become more stuck and get it to your nearest wildlife professional for safe removal.

There are cruelty-free ways to deter pests and reduce the risk of harming non-target wildlife. Baited cages can be used to safely trap the animal so it can be removed and relocated to a different area. Using plant-based alternatives, such as natural sprays and deterrents can also help to keep critters, especially unwanted insects, away from your house. To repel insects and rodents, mix several drops of peppermint essential oil into a small spray bottle full of water to spray on edges and openings. Education is also critical to ensure wildlife is not being harmed. For example, instead of attempting to rid your backyard or neighborhood of snakes, these animals can actually benefit homeowners. Snakes and raptors can help you get rid of unwanted rodents and keep populations in balance. Similarly, opossums can consume over 5,000 ticks each year and should be left alone when found in a wooded area near a home.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (1/1-1/7):
There were 20 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 3 Mourning Doves, 2 eastern cottontails, two brown pelicans, a double-crested cormorant, a Florida box turtle, a laughing gull, a red-shouldered hawk, and two gopher tortoises. Recent Releases include a Cooper’s Hawk, a mourning dove, three Southern flying squirrels, and a Virginia opossum. 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 http://www.crowclinic.org. If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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