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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.

gerbil-on-glue-trap-493x370

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.

glue-traps-99-cent-store-277x370

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.

humane-mouse-trap

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.

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  • wendy says:

    this is horrible..
    i had no idea theses things even exsited..
    who would invent and use or sell such traps?
    they must suffer in fear and pain..poor little animals.!

  • rico says:

    people who use these traps, please try to imagine what it would be like if you got stuck in such a way. Do unto other living beings as you would have them do unto you.

  • Breanna says:

    Geeeez! Poor mouse! My godness….mice are human too! They have hearts and nerves and lungs and blood….need I go on?

  • Nan says:

    I have fought brown recluses with everything possible for years. Only the glue traps got them. Otherwise, the spiders run all over me in bed and around the house. We’ve tried EVERYTHING. After freeing 3 little mice, I’ll just live with the spiders. I was horrified at the sight. How cruel. I used Baby Magic lotion which is real runny and released them. Very, very upsetting. Are there any traps for spiders that won’t harm other animals?

  • Malaurie says:

    C’est inhumain de faire subir ça à ces pauvres animaux les gens comme ça n’ont pas de coeurs ils méritent de souffrir dans les meme conditions

  • Alison Hunt says:

    I am trustee of a local hedgehog hospital in Manchester. 2 baby hedgehogs were recently trapped in a glue trap placed under a shed in Salford. our wonderful rehabilitator Barbara worked for 4 hours trying to release the hoglets but without success. Barbara had to throw away her forceps and all other equipment due to the fierceness of the glue. These traps should be banned- endangered species are being trapped in them and only PETA is taking this issue seriously.

  • Jessica says:

    Shame. This needs to stop immediately.

  • Virgínia Rodrigue says:

    My God! The “human being” become crueller each more. I believe the world would be much better if no there is “human” Please, stop with the cruelty with the animals.

  • Cernunnas says:

    I will always remember the glue traps my father used to place in our old house when I was around 5 years old. I always had to see how small cute mice and lizards died in agony there just because my father didn’t care. It made me so sick I couldn’t sleep at night, and the first thing I did in the mornings was to go check the glue traps to see if any animal was trapped or dead. I was very young and too scared to get bitten so… sadly I wasn’t able to free any.

  • Lesley says:

    I can understand people wanting to get rid of rodents but it MUST be done humanely. I always use a “live” rodent catcher and take any “occupant” well away from human habitation. I could not use such a thing as a glue trap.

  • Maffia says:

    This is just sick. I’ve had mice, rats and even a nest of wild starlings (rescued I should say after my cat killed their mother)as pets before now, and I wish people could see how social, friendly and intelligent they all are. If they knew the horrifically painful and slow death they suffer in these traps they would never use them. We should be using these on criminals as punishment, not to torture thousands of innocent wildlife.

  • Cheryl says:

    I live in the country and hate to hurt mice that live in the fields also. When I was mowing on my riding lawnmower this week, I saw a tiny little mouse running ahead of my mower so I just stopped until he turned left and got well away from where I was mowing. All God’s creatures have feelings and want to survive, as their lives are as important to them as mine is to me.

  • Alexandra says:

    We had a mouse problem at our flatshare and the one flatmate had out out these glue traps. I asked if it would cause any suffering and he said no. I then saw a mouse trapped in one, and I am absolutely sure it was suffering extremely. It struggled and had pain in its eyes. These traps seem to have some sort of poison added to the glue, which kill it slowly. So I knew that it was pointless freeing the half dead creature. I prayed for it’s suffering to end – and eventually it did. I vowed never to use those cruel death traps – and I urge others to do the same.

  • marge says:

    Im not sure if their used in the UK .but they should be banned ,its disgusting to think someone has so much disregard for an animals suffering as to put these out for use,,,BAN THEM

  • Irene says:

    I had no idea!I never used it though, but I really had no idea!They don’t say much on TV about it, but they should.This is really cruel.I have to talk to some people I know that they use this kind of traps.Now I know,and they should too.

  • wendy says:

    I have not seen these glue traps in South Africa. Our hardware store sells those spring loaded ones that you place some cheese in and the mouse or rat steps onto it and it snaps closed. This seems to be cruel as well as they take time to die. Which method is the least cruel way?????

  • Leanne says:

    Why do we have to be so cruel? It is so so so mean. Just let them go.

  • AC says:

    I had no idea about this and I’m terribly saddened. Honestly, I would have bought products like this (though luckily never have) thinking they were humane. I could never do this to a living creature and will discourage their purchase and use.

  • Marilyn Hurrell says:

    Only the human animal would use the most cruel way to trap and torture little helpless animals. I am ashamed of the human race.
    These glue traps need to be termed illegal – now ! And removed from the market – now !!!

  • SoniaK says:

    Ohh. I was headed this week to Lowe’s to buy some glue traps. Eeps! read this just in time. Oh, yes, the anguish of the little mice-ies! But, truth be told, as much as I love my animal friends, I could live without finding their droppings on my kitchen counter every morning. In such articles, I would prefer to spell out the specific alternatives out there, so we know exactly what to look or ask for at the store. Thanks! Love the work you guys do!

  • mary says:

    glue traps are evil…I found a mouse on one at a barn, the poor thing was in a full on panic, so I put olive oil on him and it freed him before loosing a leg!!

  • Linda says:

    Whoever invented the glue trap – may he suffer a long and painful death

  • Jessika says:

    I bought a glue trap before I realized that it actually would kill the mouse. My bf and dad and bf say that the no kill ones don’t work and they ended up getting the kind that chopped off their heads. I broke a bunch of them. Anyways we sealed up some holes so they won’t get in. I hope that walmart or dollar general starts selling these kind of traps that don’t kill or hurt these animals. I also wrote down directions on making a trap using cans and a trash can with a lid.

  • Ash says:

    Glue traps are disgusting! Absolutely repugnant! These animals suffer terrible pain! The traps shouldn’t exist. Things like the PETA animal relocation thing or the PETA humane trap thing. They keep the animal alive and safe. With one of them, its so easy to take the animal outside and release it. No damage done, and they would be a hell of a lot happier being free and safe than having to chew off its own legs or have skin ripped off or suffocated.

  • clare says:

    these traps are horrible. they are used in many stores and are approved by the board of health! other types of traps are not allowed to be used. this has to stop!

  • Nicole says:

    I recently went to a dollar store that was carrying 3 different brands of glue traps. It was so upsetting. How do I go about getting these off the shelves? Any suggestions?!

  • girlsaidwhat says:

    I worked at a store that used these, only I didn’t know…til I walked in the storage room and found a mouse stuck by all four feet onto one. I could tell he was scared and I didn’t know what to do….so I cut out the area around each of his feet and set him free with his new glue slippers. : ) I was just a kid, so I didn’t know any other way of helping him out of his jam.

  • Sharon says:

    Thank you PETA for educating people about this awful way to trap animals. Please continue your great work. Sharon

  • Alessandra says:

    Respeitem os animais !

  • Tonja says:

    I worked in a place that they used these. One day I came to work and heard squeaking only to locate a small mouse on one of the glue traps. I was pissed! First I had some vitamin e oil and took it outside to loosen the little guy off the trap. I got it off but it was in pretty bad shape. I went to the CEO of the company and protested strongly and educated on the cruelty involved. Most were oblivious because they felt it was ONLY a mouse but they changed the way they did it in the future to be one of the lesser cruel traps. Of course that defined the way people looked at me but I would rather be known as someone who is “crazy” about animals then to be apathetic to another creatures pain and suffering. It is important to educate people unfortunately most people think of them as only a rodent and don’t care how to kill them.

  • Krystal says:

    Humans never seise to amaze me with their barbaric ways.

    These little creatures should be protected by us – humanity.

    It’s shocking and sad and repulsive that such a cruel device exists.

    Thank ‘man’ for that though and his love for destruction and wiping out the smaller ‘insignificant’ creatures.

    I would never use such a device.

    In fact, I have a rescued pet mouse that I found injured and she has done well since January.

    Sure I ‘intervened’ but I did what was right for her.

    She’s gorgeous.

    Let’s look after our smaller inhabitants.

    Not kill them.

  • juanita says:

    who is in charge to regulate this inventions,the government? some body should band the production and also people shouldn’t buy this product therefor they are not going to have a profit and finally stop the production. wen the profit is an issue then born the monstrosity cruelty.

  • rthomas says:

    I asked my pest control company over a year ago to stop placing glue traps around my house. I had found they were trapping innocent lizards and frogs. I became aware how cruel they were then, and will not ever use them. If I see them anywhere in use, I will quietly destroy them .

  • Linda says:

    I agree with Alyssa, and I believe in God AND Karma. The sadistic bastards who love inflicting pain will get what they deserve. But if I can find them first……

  • Alyssa says:

    Those Monsters!!!!! man i want to kick the people who laugh at those helpless animals for fun

  • Susan Pursell says:

    I just sent a letter to our local Home Depot here in Georgia (state where Home Depot started). I found them on the shelf and was distressed to see them there and asked them to be removed. I have noticed they are making efforts to carry more “eco-friendly” products in the “pesticide” isle too.

  • Anonymous says:

    Stop that sadistic act NOW!!!

  • Cecilia says:

    I have recently seen on TV a commercial with a object
    that makes a sound only rodents hear and are scared
    off. That is better. And regarding the illness the glue
    can provide to humans, media should inform more.

  • VERONICA PEREZ says:

    stop now!!!!

  • Gizmo922 says:

    I have caught a mouse in a glue trap before in my house. It squeaked when it first got stuck and I went to it and saw how helpless and terrified it was, I felt so bad and so stupid for not thinking about what it would mean for the mouse to have been caught and to either be killed by myself (that I could never do) or suffer several days from starvation or such. If my local store carried humane live traps I definitey would have used that instead. I ended up using q-tips and oil to free it into a jar and then set it free away from people.

  • Claudia Hernandez says:

    Im mexican (sorry about my english script) your info is excellent! Im vegetarian because the cruelty to the animals. I wish to share all the things you publish, but in this languaje (english) it’s very caothic to me to translate. My suggestion is to create an opption with this info in spanish (if that exist, please give me where I can take that). thanks a lot

  • Mary DeMarchi says:

    Cruel & inhumane, must be banned. Should be tested on the humans that invented it, manufacture it, anyone with monetary gains from it & of course those that use it.

  • Julie says:

    I hope thar people in the contries which use these things get a change og heart :(

  • Julie says:

    I hope thar people in the contries which use these things get a change og heart :(

  • Darya says:

    This is horrible.The man who invented it – crazy monster!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Maria Maxine Maben says:

    This broke my heart.

  • jj007 says:

    thanks for this! my dad uses these and i hate it when he does i emailed him the link to this!!

  • Mukesh Tanwar says:

    It is a good piece of information for us to ponder. I will take care of what is mentioned in there and will do so if I find some poor creature trapped in this.

  • alisha says:

    thank you! i currently have this wee little mouse in my kitchen and ive bought a humane trap to catch him/her! will leave him out in the woods once ive caught him/her :)

  • apoorva bhatia says:

    i just want everyone to accept the fact if they cannot love animals who cannot even speak for themselves they can never love anyone else too. Its my humble request to all stop torturing animals to death.

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