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Just say NO to glue traps

Acadia Wildlife Center specializes in the care of bats. Most of our New England species are now approaching or are on the threatened/ endangered lists. It is desperately important that we do everything we can to protect them as they are wonderful, fascinating animals, that control our insect populations from mosquitoes to potato beetles. One danger, among many, are glue traps.  There is little excuse to use a glue trap except perhaps for flies, and these should be contained inside a wire tube like a birdfeeder, that only flies could get into. I have taken countless animals off glue traps from bats to owls to flying squirrels. They are terrified, they struggle and break bones and are left to die a horrifying death. The public, if they find them, attempt to remove the animal themselves, DO NOT DO THIS! To avoid further injury is a complicated business.  The most useful thing you can do is lay paper or sprinkle flour on the parts of the trap that are not yet stuck to the animal, preventing further attachment, and bring them to a rehabilitator.

Glue traps require several steps which all should be done by a professional with their pre-exposure rabies shots.  I can handle the animals in these pictures because I have my shots and it is hard to do the work with gloves on. The first step is to carefully remove the animal from the glue with the help of warmed oil.  Then the animal should rest. Then the oil is removed with the help of a dawn bath.

The bath must be just the right temperature, the water soft, the handler experienced. After the Dawn bath the animal is rinsed and patted dry and put in an incubator to rest.

Once rested and warm, the animal is given a series of medical procedures.  An exam to check for injury, electrolytes to treat shock, sometimes parasite treatment, and finally food.  Eventually bats will eat mealworms whole out of a dish, but in the beginning, they need help managing to ingest proper food and calories under such strange and stressful circumstances. Everything is done with periods of rest in an incubator that is set up so the bat can hide and hang upside down. Please don’t attempt any of this.  I have never received an animal off a glue trap where the public removed it, that didn’t have broken bones.

If its winter we keep bats until spring keeping them fed and healthy. Then they are released.