6 Steps to Save Animals Stuck on Glue Traps

Glue traps are one of the cruelest methods of rodent control. These traps cause prolonged suffering as frantic animals attempt to escape, tearing off their own skin in the process. Death can take days!

Mice stuck on glue trap
Many animals suffocate when their noses and mouths become stuck, while others chew off their own legs trying to get free and end up dying of blood loss. In addition, “nontarget” animals, including birds, lizards, snakes, chipmunks, and squirrels, often get stuck to glue traps and die.

Kitten Glue Trap

It’s illegal in the U.S. to use glue traps for most species of animals. Immediately alert your state wildlife or local animal control officials if you see glue traps set unlawfully.

Bird stuck on glue trap

When mice and rats are caught on a glue trap, they are often thrown into the trash, along with the trap, and left to suffer until they eventually die of shock, asphyxiation, starvation, dehydration, or blood loss. Thankfully, by taking the following steps, you can alleviate this suffering and even prevent it from happening.

What to Do if You Find an Animal Stuck on a Glue Trap

1. Gather Supplies

You’ll need a pair of gloves, a dishtowel, baby oil or cooking oil, some tissues, a damp cloth, and a secure container or shoebox with air vents.

dead mouse on glue trap (scan from hard copy)

2. Get to Work

Cover the animal’s head with the dishtowel to calm him or her down. Then, wearing a pair of gloves, gently massage a few drops of the oil into the area where the animal is stuck. Keep massaging until you are able to work the animal free.


Be sure to keep the amount of oil to a minimum, as it can interfere with natural waterproofing, thus reducing the chance of survival following release. Once the animal has been separated from the glue trap, carefully slide a tissue over the trap to prevent him or her from becoming stuck again.

Full Glue Trap

If you can’t remove the animal from the glue board or if he or she is lethargic or injured, get to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator right away. You can also call PETA for advice at 757-622-7382.

 3. Release the Animal

Use the damp cloth to remove any excess oil, and place the animal inside a secure container or shoebox with air vents. Drape the dishtowel over the container to make it dark, and place it in a quiet, warm location so the animal can rest for an hour or two. Active and alert animals can be released outdoors during mild weather within a one-block radius of where they were discovered. If the animal was trapped during extreme weather, he or she should be transported to a wildlife rehabilitator.

What Else You Can Do

4. Educate

If you discover that your local grocery or hardware store is selling glue traps—or a business or property manager is using them—educate the person in charge about the suffering that these devices cause. Suggest using alternative methods, and have your friends and family speak up, too. Need help? Use our sample letter.


Countless companies and organizations, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and the New York City Police Department, have sworn off glue traps, thanks to caring consumers like you.

Mouse glue trap

5. Share

Share this video with everyone you know, and ask them to promise never to use glue traps. Explain to them that mice and rats are capable of a wide range of emotions, and much like humans, they form tight bonds, love their families, and enjoy playing, wrestling, and sleeping curled up together.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually warns against using glue traps because of the risk of exposure to pathogens—such as hantavirus—found in rat and mice feces.

glue trap 022_JPG

6. Evict Rodents Humanely

If any rodents need to be removed from a home, please check out these humane rodent-control methods.


Have a glue trap victory to share? Need help educating others? We want to hear from you! Write to us at [email protected].

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