Glue Traps Pair of Cardinals

provided by CROW

Glue traps are a form of pest control that consists of a very sticky adhesive on a board or tray. Victims of the traps get stuck to the glue and are unable to free themselves. While it may seem like a cheap alternative and easy to clean up, glue traps are one of the most inhumane methods of pest control to use. If not checked regularly, victims who don’t kill themselves struggling to get free end up dying a slow, painful death from starvation. The worst part is that these traps are indiscriminate and wildlife that accidentally encounters these traps can suffer the same fate as the pests.

At the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), a wide variety of animals have been admitted stuck to a glue trap, including black racer snakes, eastern screech owls, and a variety of songbirds. These animals are not typically the first victims of the traps, but rather small insects and other prey items are the first ones stuck. As these creatures are struggling to free themselves, they appear as easy targets for the animals that eat them. As they swoop in for a meal, they also become stuck to the sticky substance.

Even if an animal is able to free itself from the sticky situation, residue left by the glue can continue to cause problems, or they may lose fur or feathers in the process. Damaged feathers can leave a bird unable to fly and evade predators.

On Monday, October 26, a mating pair of northern cardinals (#20-4884 & #20-4885) were admitted to the wildlife hospital after both were stuck to the same glue board in Cape Coral, Florida. The person who found them was able to remove them from the trap, but both suffered damage to their feathers.

“Both birds had their wings and tails stuck the glue and had complete loss of their tail feathers,” says Dr. Melanie Peel, a veterinary intern at CROW. “The female lost a substantial amount of primary and secondary feathers on her wings while the male only had a few broken feathers on his right wing.”

“The female was very lethargic when they arrived, but the male was bright and alert,” she continued. “After performing our initial exam, we provided them pain medication and fluids.”

Sadly, the female cardinal passed away overnight. The male cardinal was anesthetized the next morning and a full set of radiographs were taken. Thankfully, he did not have any broken bones. He continued to receive pain medication for a couple days and was noted to be flying around the soft-sided enclosure where he was housed. A flight test in an outdoor enclosure confirmed he was well flighted, even with the missing wing and tail feathers. Since he was also eating well on his own, he was deemed fit for release. The rescuer was able to return him where he was found on October 28.

If you find an animal stuck in a glue trap, we recommend getting it to a wildlife facility as quickly as possible. It is best to let wildlife professionals safely remove the animal from the trap while reducing the chance for further injury. Cover sticky parts of the trap with sand or paper to prevent other parts of the animal from becoming stuck and transport it, trap and all, to your local wildlife rehabilitator such as CROW. If you are unable to immediately transport the animal, please contact a wildlife rehabilitator before attempting to remove it from the trap.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (10/21-10/27):
There were 80 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including seven eastern cottontail rabbits, four Virginia opossums, three peninsula cooters, a red-bellied woodpecker, an eastern screech owl, an American coot, and a purple gallinule. Recent Releases include a Cooper’s hawk, a snowy egret, an eastern glass lizard and bald eagle. 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 If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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