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Glue Traps Cause Shocking Suffering

Cape Wildlife Center encourages humane alternatives to brutal pest control device

  • Cape Wildlife Center regularly treats victims of glue traps, including raccoons. Deborah Millman/Cape Wildlife Center

  • Pest control devices unnecessarily kill a lot of animals, leaving behind innocent orphaned wildlife. Dr. Roberto Aguilar/Cape Wildlife Center

  • Raccoon patients enjoy playing in their temporary home at Cape Wildlife Center. Kelly Coffin/Cape Wildlife Center

A dreadful, yet legal, “pest control” device is sending injured wildlife to Cape Wildlife Center at a sobering rate.

Innocent infants trapped

The most recent glue trap-related case involved three infant raccoons. The tiny litter mates, who each weighed about one pound, became ensnared in glue traps and were immobilized for days, growing weak, hungry, and dehydrated.

When they were discovered, the infants were taken to an emergency clinic where one of them, a female, died before she could be stabilized. The remaining two males were transported to Cape Wildlife Center. A second sibling died two days later, and were taken to save the third. He is now thriving, along with more than 20 other juvenile raccoons currently being cared for at Cape Wildlife Center.

"If people knew how much damage glue traps do to innocent animals, I can’t believe they would keep using them."
Deborah Millman, Director, Cape Wildlife Center

In addition to the raccoon infants, Cape Wildlife Center has also recently treated wrens, flying squirrels, sparrows, and titmice for glue trap-related injuries. Like the raccoon infants, some of them succumbed to their injuries.

What is a glue trap?

Glue traps, or glue boards, are pieces of cardboard or similar material coated with a strong adhesive. Animals who cross the surface become stuck, like a dinosaur in a tar pit. After that, they are either killed outright by the trap setter or left to starve to death where they stand.

Attempts by well-meaning homeowners to remove “innocent” wildlife – such as birds, raccoons and other animals – from the traps often have disastrous results.

Miller recalls seeing birds with tail feathers ripped off and small mammals with their feet irreparably damaged, injuries that often cannot be successfully treated. "These traps are indiscriminately cruel, and, more often than not, they trap unintended victims," she says.

Learn how to solve problems with wildlife»

Humane alternatives

Cape Wildlife Center exists not only to rehabilitate and release injured wildlife but also to educate members of the public on responsible coexistence with wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitation experts can be reached seven days a week by calling Cape Wildlife Center at (508) 362-0111.

Businesses and homeowners who are interested in learning more about compassionate methods of handling wildlife are encouraged to visit The Humane Society of the United States' website. The website provides comprehensive, species-specific resource materials for handling humane-wildlife conflicts.

Cape Wildlife Center, operated by The Fund for Animals in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States, promotes and protects the health and well-being of native wildlife and their habitats. Located in Barnstable, Mass., the center is open 365 days a year and provides emergency care and wildlife rehabilitation.

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