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Sticky, inhumane killers

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, September 12th, 2006 at 8:45 am in Killing, Sticky mouse traps.

Time for my semi-monthly primal scream about those fiendish sticky glue mouse and rat traps that are sold at most hardware and garden supply stores. Please don’t use those torture devices. Cheap? Yes. Effective? Yes. Inhumane and cruel? Yes.

I ran the following question and answer in today’s column in the Times:

Dear Gary: My son sent me this inquiry and I wondered if you could advise him:

Genia: We put out sticky box traps to catch mice in the garden and got one last night, but a hawk came down and took the mouse and part of the (sticky) trap. Do you think it will be OK, because those traps are really sticky and the mouse is probably covered with glue, plus the trap could become stuck on its beak? (Brian)

They live in a new home in the Dougherty Valley in San Ramon and have a constant problem with mice. Thank you for your help. (Genia G., Walnut Creek)

Dear Genia: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think those inhumane glue traps are the worst. Most people don’t realize how diabolical they are until they start using them. Your son’s problem is a classic example of the things that can go wrong with those nasty traps.

Let’s hope the hawk doesn’t get caught up in that glue, and let’s also hope the hawk was able to quickly finish putting the poor mouse out of its misery.

Basically, those glue traps work by sticking to the mouse after it’s lured into the trap. The trap is then usually tossed into the trash, where its victim takes three to four days to die.

Please suggest to Brian that the regular old Victor spring mouse traps (available at all hardware stores) work fine and kill the mice instantly. And they don’t stick to hawks.

The above comments have already generated this response:

Dear Gary: I used that type of trap ONE time, and the type of torment I went through can’t even be compared to what that poor little mouse suffered. I didn’t think it through.

If I correctly remember the concept of the individual who brainstormed this thing, the idea is to place the trap and mouse in water to "quickly" drown the mouse. That’s IF you happen to come across the mouse at a stage prior to its death. Initially I considered it "more humane" than a snap trap.

Having a little mouse stare at me prior to so doing didn’t exactly make it simple. Either way it’s torture.

From that point on, I used the "Live ‘No Kill’ Mouse Trap," and released the mouse outside.

Just a note to thank you for emphasizing the cruelty of these traps. (Barbara Yencho, cyberspace)

Thanks for caring, Barbara.

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17 Responses to “Sticky, inhumane killers”

  1. Andy Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Those things are horrible. I’m not some tree-hugging, bleeding-heart hippie either, but anyone with any amount of compassion for living things should be able to see how cruel those traps are. If you’ve ever seen a mouse stuck in one it is painfully sad. It’s nice to see there are at least a few people out there that feel the same. Those traps should be outlawed.

  2. Michelle Anthony Says:

    I totally agree — these traps are completely inhumane. I stumbled upon your site trying search for a way to free a gecko that accidentally stepped onto a glue trap today. Our pest control guy must have put these traps in our garage to kill fire ants. Anyhow, I just spent 45 minutes putting vegetable oil on one of these traps in order to free up the gecko.

    I had a similar incident years ago as a kid when I found one of these traps in my childhood home. A small mouse had gotten stuck in the glue and was making such a loud, terrible squealing sound that I thought it was our cat. Listening to the sound this little mouse made was torture. I used rubbing alcohol (not as good as cooking oil)and it took several hours before he was unglued.

    These glue traps are really inhumane…a slow, painful, death by starvation seems so cruel.

  3. cheryl Says:

    yea i thought the glue had some sort of fast acting toxin and would kill them pretty quick. Wrong. I spent about 2 hours last night removing 2 baby rats( i think they are rats) and cleaning them up first with baby oil to get the stick crap off then warm soapy water to get that off. And of course it was too cold to take them outside last night so i have the two of them in a box with some cat food and shredded paper towles. One was eating last night so we will see how they are when i get home. The cat’s mad at me, the boyfriend thinks im crazy and the rodents, well they didnt bite me so… :)

  4. Naomi Says:

    I am a college student doing a speech on why people should not use these glue traps. I think people don’t realize or care about the animals that suffer so I decided to speak about something that people should be educated about.

  5. david Says:

    There is no end to the level of human cruelty, sometimes done in the name of convenience. I too was caught up (many years ago) by slick marketing for these monstrous traps. At the time I lived in an apartment that would not let me have a cat. I had mice, so I tried a glue trap. I heard the mouse screaming and felt just horrible! I too thought that somehow the glue had a toxin that would quickly and mercifully kill the mouse. It didn’t!

    And the roach traps are no better. Sure, we think roaches are disgusting, but they also have feelings like all living things. I used to use the roach motels, thinking nothing of it. I never realized the suffering these insects undergo! It’s easy to dismiss those things we have been taught are repulsive. Yet in the process, we lessen ourselves.

    What can we do to have these types of traps abolished? Why can’t we have humane methods of dealing with pests, instead of convenience?

    Human cruelty is amazing. I am so ashamed that I ever bought those things and used them. Well, I deserve the pain for that, but I am also furious at the marketing that lied (no quick acting merciful toxin) and convinced me that this was humane.

  6. Renegade_Azzy Says:

    The classic bucket trap works great, and while it may not be as instant as a snap trap, its a hell of a lot better than those glue things.

  7. Sarah B Says:

    I had they traps placed around my kitchen–then I felt guilty and was going to get rid of them but a mouse just got caught this morning!! Is there anything I can do to eleviate his suffering–to kill him quickly? What can I do??

  8. Gary Bogue Says:

    Sarah B.:
    Take the trap and mouse out to a field away from your house. Bring a bottle of vegetable oil with you. Pour some vegetable oil around the part of the mouse that is stuck to the trap. The oil will neutralize the stickiness and release the mouse from the trap. Release the mouse into nearby bushes. Put the trap into a plastic bag, tie the bag shut and dispose of it in your garbage./Gary

  9. SM Says:

    I think I’ll remove mine from my basement tonight. I caught a mouse yesterday and feel terrible about it, as I noticed it was still moving slightly when I picked it up.

  10. Mimi Says:

    I normally use humane traps – including a home made bucket variety. Recently, I caught the same mouse twice but it jumped out of the bucket before I could cover the top with wire mesh.

    We are due to go away in two days time so the mouse had to be caught for its own welfare – and to avoid fire risk.

    I had never considered a sticky mouse trap before but when I read that a mouse could be freed by vegetable oil I decided to try it. It was my last resort. I cut the pad in half (I only wanted to immobilize it not torture it) stuck it to the floor by sellotape so that the mouse would not be able to tip it over its coat causing further suffering.

    In preparation for its recuperation, I put food, water (in a shallow lid) and bedding – made out of bits of kitchen towel stuffed into the toe part of a sock (you can pick the mouse up easily in the cut up sock when you transfer it into a box or a jar for the journey to freedom) in a metal bin.

    Within one hour it was caught. I immediately oiled the entire surface (so that the mouse would not re-stick while trying to set itself free) of the trap with a cotton pad dipped in cooking oil – gently working it under the mouse. Once it was nearly free I placed it in the bin. Within seconds it was free and apart from looking a little greasy, it seemed fine.

    An hour on, I’ve just been to check it. Its fur appears to have fluffed up a bit and it’s been eating. It was trying to jump out of the bin – which is a very good sign! I will release it tomorrow.

    Although these traps are potentially cruel it was just the right thing for this intelligent super-mouse who defied every other kind of humane traps over eight weeks.

    If you use these sticky traps please make sure you check them every 15-20 minutes and have your bin ‘hotel’ ready for an overnight’s rest before releasing them back into the wild.

    Mice are beautiful and intelligent creatures. You do not have to kill them.

  11. Jamie Says:

    I made a huge mistake by buying the sticky traps. At the store it sounded great. The Snap traps that I got last time broke my finger. I caught 2 mice the first night. But, I didn’t know what to do with the mouse after it was stuck. I put the trap and mouse in a large plastic bag and put it up to the muffler of our car and it went to sleep. That was the only thing I could think of.

  12. Gary Bogue Says:

    Jamie: those stick traps are diabolical, inhumane contraptions. Please don’t ever use them again. Thanks./Gary

  13. Len in Michigan Says:

    A quick thank-you for your web site. I searched & searched for a way to remove the sticky gel used in roach traps from a kitty’s tail, without success. I’m watching my girlfriend’s cat while she nurses a new batch of kitties. (The cat, not my g/f!) I’m keeping mom & yes, she’ll be neutered immediately! In fact, I’m going to have the kitties done, too. At the same time, I’ve had an on-going problem with roaches. Not an infestation, just the occasional roach here & there. I’ve tried boric acid, fog bombs, you name it. All failures. I don’t like killing innocent animals, but when it’s my house, I’ll make an exception with roaches! Having 5 rambunctious 6-wk old kittens in the kitchen, I had to hide the roach traps in the cupboards. Leave it to kittens (what’s that about curiosity?), they knocked over the totes I had in front of the door. I heard some unusual clattering from the kitchen & when I went to investigate, I found a kitten slapping around a roach trap cover. Oh no! That meant the black bottom, with the dark gel, was gone! With 5 kittens, why is it the black trap was stuck to the black kitten’s tail??? I freaked, thinking it would take turpentine or something caustic to get it off. Having failed at finding something, I ended up reading the humorous posts on your web site about sticky traps. I enjoy cute little mice & have even taken a rat out into the country to let it go. Imagine my surprise to read down & find you & some of your guests talking about vegetable oil! The black kitty (who my g/f is going to keep) got her first trip to the Kitty Salon – my sink! After an oil bath & thorough rinsing, I also had the problem of a chilly house amidst one of the worst cold snaps we’ve had in years. So she also got her first exposure to the blow dryer! She was such a trooper, not afraid of the water or the blow dryer! I told my g/f that she could do what I did with my very first cat – train her to climb in the tub & take a bath with her! Thought I’d share my story – and say thanks!

  14. Mark M. Says:

    Gary, how can we be active in eliminating these kind of traps without legal issues? I don’t forsee a letter to the local official or senator having any profound effect. What’s your take?

  15. mackenzie stead Says:

    hey i was reading the comments on sticky mouse traps and was wondering if the glue on those pads are harmful if ingested? i live in an appartment building and maintenance had placed down sticky pads to get rid of a roach problem…but my cat thought it was a toy and decided to play with it getting it stuck to his paw :( i managed to pull it off with some minor howling from the cat as i didnt know you could get it off with oil …. he then proceded to clean his paw….should i be concerned ???

  16. Rat killer Says:

    I couldn’t DISAGREE more. If you like living with your rats and mice have fun getting strange diseases and cleaning up rat sh!t. Your all twisted in the head. They are rodents and can make YOU and YOUR Children sick. And devalue your home significantly. So enjoy your rat infested homes sicko’s

  17. SRW Says:

    Sticky traps seem to be the only way I have of actually catching mice in my house. I feel bad but I don’t let it suffer. I put the sticky with mouse still attached in a plastic bag and take it outside and hit it with a hammer. Yes, that sounds cruel but not as cruel as letting it sit in my garbage can stuck for 3-4 days and dying a slow death. For those of you saying take it outside and let it go, don’t you think it will find its way back into your house. Yes, you could take it far away but it’s winter time and sure to die outside in this cold anyway.

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