I often overhear Humans talking about rodent “problems”. It took me awhile to figure out what they were talking about (the only rodent “problem” I ever have is trying to eat one too fast and having to start over after nearly choking). It ends up that the Humans consider mice and rats in their homes to be a problem, not breakfast. They’ve come up with all sorts of ways to solve this problem, most of which involve killing the critters. Now, I’m a big fan of killing rodents, but I tend to go for a swift kill (and therefore a quick lunch that can’t hurt me back), whereas some of the methods Humans use are drawn out, painful, or harmful to creatures other than just the rat or mouse they’re trying to get rid of. One such method is the glue trap.
A glue trap is essentially a piece of plastic or cardboard with an extremely sticky adhesive on one side. The idea is that a mouse will walk across it, get stuck in the glue…and slowly die from starvation, dehydration, or suffocation. Nice, huh? There are dozens of other downsides to glue traps (just check out this Google image search for “glue traps”), but the one downside I want to bring to your attention today is how indiscriminate glue traps are: they will capture anything that touches them, not just rodents, Think: snakes, baby bunnies, kittens, songbirds, etc.
Now, can you think of a type of animal that would love a free rodent snack served on a platter? Say, an opportunistic hunter of mice and rats? Bingo, Raptors. Raptors are frequently the accidental victims of glue traps after they swoop down to pluck a stuck mouse from the trap; small Raptors can get stuck in the trap just like the mouse, and larger Raptors can fly off with a trap stuck to their feet or feathers, unable to get away from it.
In fact, just last week, the RMRP admitted an Eastern Screech Owl stuck to a glue trap. The Owl was found outside with the glue trap stuck to its feet and legs, unable to fly or free itself. Fortunately, someone saw the Owl and called the RMRP so it could be rescued. They were able to free the Screech Owl from the trap, and after a few days of observation, the bird is reported to be in good enough condition to be released ASAP. What a lucky Owl! For many other birds, their feathers get horribly stuck to the trap, and it’s nearly impossible to free them without damage, which leads to much longer rehabilitation time.
On a final note, I want to point out the irony of possibly catching and even killing an Owl in a trap intended to kill rodents. Owls are much better mousers than the most sophisticated mouse trap! If you’re trying to get rid of rodents on your property, maybe try setting up a nest box and luring in a family of Owls. It’s been reported that a family of five Owls will consume up to 3,000 rodents in a breeding season! I’d like to see your glue trap do that. Visit www.hungryowl.org for more information.
Check back to find out when the glue-trapped Screech Owl gets released!