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How Glue Traps Ruined My Childhood

Written by Michael Hammers | August 10, 2011

I grew up in the Midwest, and every so often little mice from a neighboring field would occasionally find their way into our home and set up shop. On one such occasion, we picked up a package of glue traps from the local hardware store and set them out around the house. Back then, I didn’t realize just how horrifying a little glue trap could be.

mouse 1

The next day, I awoke to what sounded like an intruder in the kitchen. In actuality, it was a mouse who was trying so violently to escape a glue trap that I mistook him for a living being hundreds of times his size. He took deep, shivering breaths, and every so often he would muster all of his energy and violently thrash in an attempt to free himself.

Mouse 3

Manufacturers direct consumers to throw the animals away along with the trap, but I just couldn’t leave him to starve and die slowly, so I sat outside working with dirt, dish soap, olive oil, and my hands to free the little guy. At one point, the mouse let out a squeak and sunk his teeth into my hand because of the terror and pain he felt as I was trying to pry his body from a pool of glue.

Mouse 2

At several points, his face got stuck to the trap. My heart raced as I worked quickly to prevent him from suffocating, but most mice and rats aren’t as lucky.


When I finally succeeded in my task, a battered and disheveled mouse, with missing clumps of fur, limped off into the night. Many trapped animals end up breaking or chewing off their own limbs in their struggle for freedom.

Kitten Glue Trap

After freeing the mouse, I checked the other glue traps for any struggling family members and found that a number of other individuals—including a ladybug and a big, beautiful moth—had been trapped. These glue traps often ensnare other small animals, too, including birds, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, gerbils, and kittens.

Bird Glue Trap

In a similar case, one distraught woman found a bird, two frogs, and a salamander stuck to a glue trap’s surface. Despite her efforts to save them, all the animals died.

Full Glue Trap

Glue traps never work to keep animals away long-term. The following evening, I entered the kitchen to find the same dirty and disheveled mouse stuck to a new glue trap. Despite my efforts, he wasn’t able to survive the stress of a second entrapment.

Mouse glue trap

Even though they’re widely sold at many retailers, glue traps aren’t safe for consumers, either. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Canada caution against their use because animals who are trapped on these devices often void their bowels, potentially exposing anyone who handles the traps to hantavirus—a virus that can be fatal to humans.


After my encounters with the mouse who had gotten stuck in our glue trap, I wasn’t able to sleep for several nights without the paranoia that every little sound I heard was made by a small suffering mouse.

Ultimately, the only surefire way to keep mice and other animals out of your house is to make it less inviting to them. To do this, follow these few easy steps:

  • Eliminate food sources. Keep counter surfaces, floors, and cabinets clean, and store dry food in chew-proof containers. Seal trash cans and never feed your animal companions outside.
  • Ammonia-soaked cotton balls or rags will drive mice and rats out (they hate the smell). Place them in areas where the animals, their droppings, or nests have been seen, and be sure to give them a few days to leave.
  • To keep unwelcome “visitors” out, seal entry points using foam sealant, steel wool, hardware cloth, or metal flashing. If any animals need to be removed from homes, this can be done by using humane box traps.

Unfortunately, I never knew just how inhumane glue traps are until I actually used one. Now, I know that there are many reasons never to use glue traps in your home. Not only do they cause slow and agonizing deaths for the animals they trap, they can also be dangerous to humans and animal companions.

Many companies—including Albertsons, CVS, Dollar Tree, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Safeway—have stopped selling glue traps, and many other businesses have stopped using the  traps after hearing from concerned customers. Unfortunately, some companies continue to sell these vile devices.


Note: If you encounter an animal who’s stuck to a glue trap, pour a small amount of cooking oil or baby oil onto the stuck areas (avoiding the animal’s nose and mouth) and gently work the animal free. If you can’t free the animal, quickly rush him or her to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator. Sometimes euthanasia performed by a veterinarian is the most humane way to end the trapped animal’s suffering.

Commenting is closed.
  • em says:

    I heard you can use the sticky traps to catch mice and then release them with veggy oil. Google it. 🙂 no one likes to smash a mouse but no one likes mouse poop.

  • Peter says:

    I love animals in fact we have a lot of dogs but I don’t like rats. They are noisy and they destroy a lot of things. You can’t just tell them to go away. In our place where houses are just beside each other, even if you are cleaning your house properly and avoid leaving some food at night for the rat, they will still roam around. So what do you suggest we should do if not to use some trap? We tried different trap but didn’t work. I think sometimes its a matter of choice. You leave your house or do other means to make the rats leave.

  • Betty says:

    Snap traps are a hit and miss – the mice might steal the bait without setting off the trap. Same problem with cage traps, but you could only set a couple because of their size and cost. So you have to figure out the mice’s pathways, which is a bit of trial and error. Poison leaves mice dying and rotting in hard to reach places.

  • Drew says:

    I’ve seen two birds get caught in a glue trap we keep in the basement. I was lucky enough to save one of them ,but the other one was just too stuck and sadly it died.

  • shetty says:

    recently my parents used a mouse trap .when the mouse was caught in the trap and it started screaming i felt so bad this trap just disgust me ,from now on no more mouse traps ,its really a cruel thing to do…its really a horrible thing to do to such a innocent creature.

  • So sad jfc says:

    I lived for a long time hearing the endless cries of these mice thinking i couldn’t help and because my parents feel no remorse they just throw them out. I’ve protested it before but tonight, and from now on i will NEVER let them torture an innocent animal again. I used some oil and set it free down the road. Glue traps disgust me, I feel physically ill knowing that they exist.

  • Harmony says:

    I’ve recently discovered Tractor Supply sells glue traps. 🙁

  • Joe says:

    At the beginning of every summer, the fleas would wake up and infest the apartment until the yearly bug guy showed up a few months later. Til then we used to use these glue boards and it would help a considerable amount. It is frowned upon for us to use bug bombs in these apartments, and we had tried water bowels, salt, etc to stop and give me and my kiddo some relief til the yearly bug guy came. Now, due to protests these have been pulled from shelves. Thanks.

  • Harmony says:

    My boss put out glue traps. I poured oil in the trays. shredder oil. I’m hoping that thwarts them until I can bring in a live trap.

  • Queen says:

    Mice may be cute but they carry diseases, bite and destroy personal property. Rats are disease infested creatures and unwelcome house guests. By the time you know you have them, you could have a hundred of them living in your attic and walls. You can hear them at night in the walls and it’s hard to sleep, it’s like a horror movie. They can and do attack people babies and pets. I wouldn’t advise trying to handle one alive or you could expose yourself to serious diseases like the plague – check out CDC. The best thing you can do is call pest control and let them seal off your house, trap and get them out of your house however they deem the safest even if that means they suffer and die. Protecting your family is a higher priority than trying to set them free. I love animals too but I don’t love rats, they are scary and it’s a health risk I’m not willing to take, sorry.

  • Sane says:

    You’re not supposed to just “throw away” the glue trap! You’re supposed to (I know this is going to sound horrible) slam it against the wall the SECOND you hear the squeaks from the trap. This will break the little guy’s spine and kill him/her instantly. I don’t like to kill animals, and mice/rats are EXTREMELY intelligent. However, I like my furniture and walls intact, and my house hanta-free.

  • says:

    Find Trapper Rat and Mice Glue Board Traps at our Pest Mall. We offers DIY Professional Pest Control Products & expert advice. Free Shipping! Rely on us for all your mouse glue trap needs.

  • felix says:

    Never again. We have a budding scorpion problem so my significant other put some glue traps outside and we woke up to 3 sparrows and a lizard stuff. We felt so horrible as everyone said we would have to kill them to prevent suffering. Instead we got some Dawn soap, purified water, and about 3 hours of patience and were able to save all of the animals. I never heard of them before but they’re horrible and kill innocent things.

  • Jennifer says:

    I remember I use a glue trap when I was a kid cause someone told me that they are safe and easy to use. Let me tell you, that was the last time I ever did that. I cried and tried to do everything in my power to release him from the trap. He was ripping his skin off to free himself, and I tried to put oil and anything slippery so that he could free himself. I panicked an no one helped me. He died quickly after that cause I saw the pain and tourcher that I caused from my lack of knowledge. Now when I have a mouse in my house. I study the little guys habbits for a couple of days like when he comes out. They all go into the sink for water. I keep a container close by so that I can catch him and then release him outside. And when he comes back well I do the process all over again. Plus I keep the kitchen and house clean so that it deters them from getting access to food. But never again will I use those traps. Never

  • Em says:

    I used one of these traps once – never again. Don’t know what I could have possibly been thinking. My son (19 yrs old at the time) came to me and asked what to do with the mouse stuck on the trap and very much alive. Fortunately he took matters into his own hands and the mouse suffered a quick and relatively painless death but it haunted me for a long time. I’ve since requested the large retail home improvement store to remove them from their shelves.

  • Marine Biologist Wannabe says:

    What cruel idiot could think of this idea? And we think rats and mice are disgusting.

  • sarah says:

    omg!! i swear, im about ready to go and stick whoever came up with this horrible idea to a glue trap. see how they like it. i almost cried reading this article, all i could imagine is my own hamster being stuck to one. YIKES!!! 🙁

  • Ashley-P says:

    Gina: Please see this page for tips on humane rodent control:

  • Gina says:

    I agree the rat and mice traps are cruel, however, not everyone wants to live with rodents. I live in the Baltimore area, and there is a serious rodent problem here. Are there any other ways to get rid of mice besides using the traps?

  • Deni says:

    Did you know that a mouse’s heart is the size of an M & M? Just think…that’s kind of big for such a small creature!
    They live, breathe, & have a beating heart just like every other one of God’s creatures!
    I wish people would think with their hearts…not their heads!

  • Bob says:

    Can these traps be disabled by coating them with oil?

  • Jordyn says:

    I remember I was in Algebra class one time (we were in an old science lab) and I opened a drawer and I see…a mouse! It was so small and cute, however it was stuck in a glue trap. It was curled up…still breathing, just laying there. I couldn’t do anything for it. It made me sad. I mean, what could I have done? Raise my hand and say. “excuse me…there’s an almost dead mouse in here. do you mind if I go get some cooking oil to release it?” That just sounds ridiculous.(the question not the idea)I wish my school would stop using glue traps!!!

  • abby says:

    ive never had mice or rats in my house but if i did i dont think i would mind..i have a hamster that looks like a mouse…i dont think anyone with a heart would trap and torture a hamster!!!

  • caroline says:

    How disgusting that these traps even exist. Pure cruelty. Shame on anyone who uses these.

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