Jointly written by Gillian and Samantha, ACRES Interns
OWN’s core member ACRES has been advocating for animal welfare since 2001. They have always been the voice for the voiceless and believe that education is the way forward. They have guided and inspired countless interns across the years, just like Samantha and Gillian, who dedicated months of their time to assist ACRES in outreach and fundraising.
In this article, Samantha and Gillian share the dangers glue traps pose to our wildlife and why we should stop the usage of such devices. Learn alternative methods to address rodent issues in your area without the need to purchase and install glue traps that have been proven to be ineffective in the long run.
What are glue traps?
Glue traps are small boards made of cardboard or plastic that are coated with an extremely sticky adhesive. Many people use glue traps as a cheap and convenient way to get rid of animals viewed as “pests” like rodents and insects, especially given the easy availability of these traps. However, due to glue traps’ indiscriminate nature, other animals such as birds, snakes and even household pets often get stuck in the glue trap instead of the target animal.
Distress caused to trapped animals
Depending on how frequently the glue trap is checked, animals can be stuck for a few hours to several days. As the trapped animals struggle to escape, the glue can rip patches of skin and fur/feathers off their bodies. Trapped animals may also self-mutilate, such as by biting off their limbs, in a frantic attempt to free themselves. If animals get their faces stuck on the glue, they can die from suffocation when the glue blocks their nasal pathways. Eventually, the trapped animals may die from starvation, dehydration or stress after experiencing great distress and suffering.
ACRES’s experience with animals caught in glue traps
These heart-breaking scenarios are all too familiar to those at ACRES, a local animal protection charity. As part of their wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts, ACRES attends to calls regarding injured or trapped wild animals, which often include animals stuck in glue traps.
Just a few months ago, a baby Common Palm Civet was caught in a glue trap and fortunately managed to survive under ACRES’s care and rehabilitation.
However, more often than not, animals caught in glue traps succumb to their injuries, such as this Collared Kingfisher that did not pull through. The Collared Kingfisher is a protected species in Singapore, and had likely passed away from the initial stress caused when stuck in the glue trap, or possibly due to glue ingestion.
In these cases involving animals caught in glue traps, the animals may be trapped on their side, or face down, by all legs or only one leg, and will often make loud noises of distress. As trapped animals fight to extricate themselves from the trap, they may become increasingly lodged in the glue.
A personal account by an ACRES volunteer:
“Personally, as my parents previously used glue traps to try to eliminate rats, I have also witnessed animals unwittingly getting caught in glue traps. In one instance, I found a trapped Asian Toad late at night.
I had planned to help remove the toad with cooking oil the next morning, but found that he had escaped and was resting in a drainage hole in the kitchen. The toad had freed himself from the glue trap by pulling himself along the tray, as evidenced by the tracks in the glue.
The toad was alive, but likely had a lot of glue stuck to his skin, preventing him from breathing properly. As I knew that toads breathe through their skin, I was very worried. This experience opened my eyes to the great distress and injuries that glue traps inflict on animals, prompting me to urge my family to stop using glue traps.”
Glue traps’ long-term ineffectiveness
Many may consider glue traps as a quick fix to tackle the presence of animals in one’s home. However, glue traps are actually ineffective in the long term. In addition, it is close to impossible to remove caught animals from the device immediately after retrieval and thus, it is a common practice for pest controls to kill trapped rodents by stepping on them while they are still very much alive.
The best approach to preventing the occurrence of animals in one’s area is to identify and address the main reason for animals entering the premises. Quite often, it is because litter and food are not disposed of, or because garbage bins are not closed properly. Additionally, leftover crumbs from the feeding of birds and stray cats will attract other animals like rats.
The presence of wild animals in urban spaces indicates that the environment provides animals with sufficient food, shelter and water. Removing the availability of these resources, or keeping them out of reach, will reduce the occurrence of wild animals in your premises and prevent future visits. If these resources remain in the area, other animals will likely move in to replace the animals caught by the glue traps.
For instance, rats can give birth to as many as 6 litters a year with sufficient food. Thus, if some rats are removed but the issue of poor food waste management in the area remains unaddressed, there will be more rats in a few weeks' time.
Furthermore, natural predators that prey on rodents, such as snakes and civets, may get caught in glue traps. This disrupts the natural balance for the rodent population to be controlled, thus allowing rats to reproduce more easily.
All in all, the only long-term way to control rodent populations is to make the area unattractive or inaccessible to them.
Top left photo: A common wolf snake was trapped after an attempted hunt
Top right photo: Two common wolf snakes stuck together in a glue trap
“After that incident with the toad, I managed to convince my parents to adopt alternative methods to prevent rats from entering our home. Now, we store our food more effectively and have installed mesh in drain covers to prevent rats from entering our home. We have not had rats in our home for a few years since doing so, which in turn prevents other wildlife, like snakes, from entering.”
Similarly, you can follow the tips below to deter animals from entering your home:
Mesh up gaps in your home
Animals can enter your home by squeezing through very small spaces, such as air vents, and gaps around gas and water pipes
Identify the animals’ entry point by examining your house’s structure (e.g. pipes), with your contractor's help if needed
Clear your trash daily and always have your bin lids closed
The food that we throw away in our rubbish bin, or leave out for our pets, attracts animals as they have a keen sense of smell.
If food waste is not disposed of properly, the animal population will increase. This, in turn, attracts other animals. For example, if you have rats in your home, snakes may also enter since they feed on rats
Keep counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets clean
Store food and food waste in metal containers
Exercise tolerance towards animals. Equip yourself with knowledge on our wildlife.
Encourage your neighbours to do the same! Wildlife management is a community effort.
All it takes are some simple modifications to your environment to manage wildlife in your premises. Glue traps are not worth the purchase as they are ineffective. Your actions can make a world of difference to those around you, especially our wild neighbours!
Every animal plays an essential role in our ecosystem; it is crucial that we learn to coexist with them. Learn more about our native wildlife and their ecological roles on the Our Wild Neighbours website and gather practical tips on how you can effectively and humanely manage wildlife in your area.
If you encounter a wild animal trapped in a glue trap, call ACRES's 24-hour Wildlife Rescue Hotline at 9783 7782.