Glue boards (also known as glue traps) are trays coated with an extremely sticky adhesive. Often used to get rid of rodents, insects and snakes, many buy these boards as an alternative to indiscriminate snap traps, which endanger pets and children.Animals that touch a glue board are immediately caught and stuck to the board and usually suffer a slow death by starvation or suffocation.
Glue boards might seem like a safe and easy solution to pest problems but in fact, they are one of the cruelest and most dangerous. Responsible for more suffering than virtually any other wildlife control product on the market, they are readily available at grocery stores, home improvement and hardware stores and most major retailers, as well as over the Internet.
Ineffective, inhumane and dangerous
Glue boards are widely used to kill rodents, but they don’t eliminate rodent problems. Solutions for controlling rodent populations must focus on the removal of the cause and source.
Manufacturers of glue boards don’t claim that they provide a quick death. In fact, they generally suggest that boards be thrown in the trash with live animals still stuck to the surface. As a result, animals continue to suffer, starved and exhausted for up to five days.
While animals are stuck on glue boards, they cry out loudly in pain and have been known to bite through their limbs attempting to free themselves. Even if found and rescued, these animals might not survive the intense stress, injuries or effects of the glue.
Manufacturers claim that glue boards are safe for use, but there are many safety concerns that don’t come on the label. In some cases, people will try to beat glue-trapped animals to death with a shovel or stick, as it is nearly impossible to safely or humanely euthanize them. While trapped animals are still alive, anyone handling the glue board risks being bitten by the them
Glue boards are also dangerous to household pets and other animals that aren’t the user’s intended target. If the board is small, a larger animal may be able to pull it off, though they will likely lose fur or skin. Smaller animals, however, have no means of escape. Larger glue boards can entrap medium-sized animals, including pets. Cats often require veterinary help and surgery to remove glue boards.
Sale, manufacture and regulation
Despite bans in Victoria, BC, Australia and New Zealand, most countries, including the United States, have placed no regulations on the use of glue boards. There also is very little consumer education about these products --manufacturers and retailers provide virtually no information to alert purchasers as to the concerns that exist with the use of these devices.
If you find a glue-trapped animal
In all cases, please treat an animal caught on a glue board as an emergency and consult a trained professional. The animal should be safely contained and immediately transported to a local wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian.
It’s very difficult for untrained individuals to release an animal from a glue board without running the risk of inflicting further injuries or possibly being injured themselves. Even if an animal appears unharmed, they could be injured in ways that aren’t immediately visible, or they could need treatment for dehydration or extreme exhaustion.
If you cannot immediately find a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian, the below method has been used successfully.
Caution: Please attempt this only in the event that you cannot find a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian. Wild animals can be dangerous at any time when handled, but especially so when they are trapped and defending themselves. Please do not attempt this if you are not comfortable with the procedure described.
- thick gloves
- a bottle of cooking oil*
- a thick towel
* baby oil is less effective, but it works in a pinch.
- Run hot water over the bottle of oil until the oil feels warm on your wrist, but is not hot enough to burn. It is not necessary to heat the oil if you do not have the capacity to do so.
- With a gloved hand, gently restrain the animal near, but not over, their head with a towel. Keep a firm but gentle grip on the animal.
- With your other hand, gently massage the heated oil at the animal’s points of contact with the board. It will take several minutes for the oil to start to soften the glue. Continue massaging until the animal becomes free from the glue board. This may take some time and a great deal of patience.
- Once you’ve removed the board, keep the animal in a warm, dark and quiet location until a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian is available. The animal should receive treatment for being “oiled,” as oil affects their ability to regulate body temperature. If this is not possible, then a holding period until release conditions are appropriate is the next best step.
Spread the word
Here are some ways you can help prevent the spread and use of glue boards:
- If your local hardware, home improvement or grocery store sells (or uses) glue boards, inform the store manager or owner that these devices are inhumane and explain why.
- If you find a glue board advertised on a website, email the website manager and politely address humane concerns.
If your property manager or condominium association has contracted for rodent control, ask what methods the contractor will use. Raise the debate within your community to replace inhumane methods with more humane ones.