Starling prised 'feather by feather' from glue trap set for mice under bath in Sunderland home

RSPCA animal rescue officer Heather Wade said the bird 'miraculously seemed almost unscathed'. Credit: RSPCA

A starling found stuck on a ‘glue trap’ in a Sunderland home was rescued in the nick of time.

The householder called the RSPCA for help after finding the bird firmly stuck to a trap he had set under his bath to catch mice.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Heather Wade said: “The poor starling was stuck fast on this horrible glue trap.

"Most animals don’t survive this, but after I gently separated the poor bird - feather by feather from the glue - he miraculously seemed almost unscathed, if a little scruffy so I was able to release him back into the wild."

Heather warned that the use of glue traps could be dangerous to many animals including domestic pets.

“Glue traps are vicious and indiscriminate," she added. "Though meant to catch rodents, we see non-target animals - from birds to cats - getting stuck on the traps’ powerful glue and as they struggle to free themselves, they often suffer terrible injuries and die.

"My fellow officers and I have repeatedly been left shocked and horrified by the lethal damage wrought on wildlife, pets and other animals by these awful traps and the forthcoming ban on them is not coming a moment too soon.”

What are 'glue traps'?

Glue traps, also known as ‘glue boards’ or ‘sticky boards’, consist of a sheet of plastic, cardboard or wood coated with non-drying adhesive designed to trap rodents such as mice and rats as they cross the board. 

Between 2016 and 2021, 263 incidents were reported to the RSPCA in England alone about the use of glue traps - with non-target species, including cats, robins and other wild birds, often falling victim.

The RSPCA has long campaigned against the use of glue traps - which they believe can cause animals pain, distress and severe suffering.

More than 70% of incidents reported to the RSPCA between 2016 and 2020 involved non-targeted animals.Glue traps were already banned in the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and parts of Australia and the RSPCA is delighted that they are now banned for the use by the public in England.

The RSPCA hopes any ban on glue traps will extend to sales as well as usage, meaning the devices, which are easily accessible in hardware shops or online, would also have to be removed from sale.

Heather added: "Unfortunately, despite the ban, glue traps are still widely available and a cheap method of rodent control - but there are other, more humane methods available too such as humane deterrence.”

The starling rescue took place on 22 April.

Anyone who sees an animal caught in a trap should call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999.

The organisation advises that the public never tries to free an animal from a snare or trap.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...