Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre

RSPCA warn of deadly glue trap dangers after hedgehog case

The RSPCA is warning about the dangers of deadly glue traps after a poor hedgehog was found stuck in one in a garden in Bolton.

Glue traps, also known as glue boards or sticky traps, consist of a sheet of cardboard, plastic or wood coated with non-dryingadhesive. Unfortunately, these traps are currently legal and generally used to catch rodents, whose limbs get stuck to the glue boards as they move across them.

The animal welfare charity is encouraging people not to set glue traps because of the dangers they pose to wildlife and even pets.

A Private Members' Bill - the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill - is presently progressing through Parliament, and aims to make certain uses of glue traps an offence in England.

In this case the hedgehog was found by a member of public on a trap she had put in her garden in Young Street, Farnsworth, at about 8pm on Sunday. She reported the matter to the RSPCA and animal welfare officer Sonia Hulme was sent to the scene.

Sonia: “The caller told me she had put out the trap herself due to a problem with rodents but they are cruel and cause awful suffering to these animals and other wildlife - and even pets - who are often left helpless and suffer a lingering death.

“Usually the traps are so adhesive that any animals trapped on them are unable to free themselves and in their panic they rip off limbs and skin and suffer horrendously.

“In this incident I took the hedgehog to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital and we were able to free him by trimming around some fur.  “Fortunately he was not too badly injured from his ordeal and will now recover in our care at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre where he will be released back into the wild once he is returned to full health. 

“I asked the resident to take heed and remove any other traps which may be around and would urge any members of the public to do the same.”

UPDATE: The little hog is doing well and the Stapeley team are hoping to return him to the wild in a few days.

Last year, on November 5, the Greater Manchester RSPCA also attended an incident in which a robin was stuck by its chest, legs and wings in a trap left on Pink Bank Lane, Levenshulme). The bird had broken both legs in trying to escape from the trap and again sady had to be put to sleep to end the suffering.

Then the following month - on December 13 - a pigeon was found by staff at the Odeon Cinema in the Trafford Centre stuck by its chest and wings. Unfortunately the injuries were so severe the poor bird had to be put to sleep to end its suffering.”

The RSPCA’s scientific officer, Evie Button, said: “We’re opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all glue traps because they cause unacceptable suffering and are totally indiscriminate in what they catch, ensnaring wild animals like birds and even pets.

“Glue traps may seem like an effective way to catch rodents without killing them, but they come with very serious welfare issues and subject those animals unfortunate enough to get caught to horrific suffering. Even the way they’re designed to catch animals – by sticking their limbs to the board as they cross it – inflicts pain and distress.

“The RSPCA is welcoming moves to clamp down on the use of cruel glue traps in England after the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill has become one step closer to becoming law and  it will now proceed to a committee stage for detailed debate in June.”

Despite the current lack of any legal restriction on who can purchase and use these traps, any animal caught in a glue trap is protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This means that if an animal suffers unnecessarily as a result of inappropriate or poor use of the trap, or through a failure to release or kill the animal in an appropriate way, an offence may have been committed.

It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds. Although some actions may be taken against wild birds under licence, the use of glue traps is not permitted under any licence. Anyone caught deliberately using a glue trap to catch, injure or kill a wild bird can be sentenced to up to six months in prison and given an unlimited fine if found guilty.

If you see an animal you have concerns about please call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999 - however, never try to free an animal from a snare or trap – you risk hurting yourself and the animal. In many cases, animals are more seriously injured than they might look, so it is best that they are examined properly to see if they need veterinary treatment.

For more information on the RSPCA’s glue traps project and how to report any traps you see on sale to the general public, please visit the RSPCA’s website.