Glue traps:
Indiscriminate killers

July 22, 2015

By Joanna Fitzgerald

Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

68 animals admitted this past week

A coral snake and two raccoons were among the 68 animals recently admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Other admissions include three northern gannets, a herring gull, two Florida red-bellied turtles and 12 eastern cottontails.

Coral snake trapped by glue board

The coral snake was brought to the wildlife hospital by a volunteer Critter Courier after hospital staff was contacted by the home owner who had placed the glue board trap to catch an unwanted rodent.

The homeowner was unable to drive due to a recent surgery; hospital staff quickly dispatched a volunteer knowing the snake could injure itself struggling to break free from the sticky glue.

Conservancy veterinarian Dr. PJ Deitschel sedated the snake to ensure staff could safely work to free the venomous snake without any fear of being bitten.

Handler safety was a top priority.

The snake showed signs of stress from the trauma of being stuck to the glue board but after approximately 40 minutes the snake was freed from the glue and placed in an animal intensive care unit to rest.

As hospital staff work on removing a coral snake from a glue board, a section of glue is stretched up to demonstrate the deadly stickiness of the adhesive.

Glue boards are indiscriminate killers - capturing birds, snakes, and a variety of small mammals.

Currently, a northern cardinal continues rehab at the Conservancy after getting stuck to a glue board in early June. The cardinal was fortunate it didn’t sustain more severe injuries. Numerous species of birds (both songbirds and birds of prey) have been admitted to the wildlife hospital after getting stuck to glue boards.

Screech owl admitted to hospital after he was found stuck to glue trap that was meant to kill rats. Read this story

The injuries we have seen animals endure after being stuck in glue board traps are horrific. An animal may struggle so violently that it can tear its skin, legs or wings from its body.

If a glue board trap is left unchecked an animal stuck to the trap dies slowly from starvation and dehydration. Humane methods of rodent control do exist and must focus on the cause and source of the rodent problem. Preventative measures and exclusion are the keys to long-term solutions.

See examples of humane traps

Recent Releases — 33 go home

  • 2 Florida softshell turtles
  • 1 Florida red-bellied turtle
  • 1 bold jumping spider
  • 2 blue jays
  • 5 opossums
  • 1 eastern screech owl
  • 1 peninsula cooter
  • 3 common grackles
  • 3 eastern cottontails
  • 4 mourning doves
  • 1 brown thrasher
  • 7 chimney swifts
  • 1 northern cardinal
  • 1 red-bellied woodpecker

Get involved

Please visit our website at and learn about the many opportunities there are to get involved.

Volunteers are vital in our efforts to assist native wildlife.

If you are unable to give of your time as a volunteer, become a member or donate.

However you choose to become involved, your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.