ANIMAL welfare chiefs are warning of the dangers of glue traps after a young gull suffered a fatal encounter in Southampton.

The RSPCA says the bird had to be put down after it became trapped in the sticky trap – used to catch rodents.

Now the animal welfare charity is calling for people not to set glue traps, also known as glue boards, because of the dangers they pose to wildlife and even pets.

RSPCA inspector Charlotte Coggins, who was called out to help the bird after the gull was spotted stuck in the trap by a member of the public, said: “It was really sad to see this young gull desperately struggling in such a shocking state with glue covering his wings and body.

"If only the person who set the trap could have seen the terrible suffering caused.”

Glue traps consist of a sheet of cardboard, plastic or wood coated with non-drying adhesive.

These traps are legal and generally used to catch rodents, whose limbs get stuck to the glue boards as they pass across them.

But other animals can become trapped in them too.

On this occasion, the gull became caught in the trap, in Castle Lane, after glue covered its feathers and legs.

The charity is hoping to raise awareness of the dangers posed by the glue traps.

Daily Echo:

They calling on the sale of the traps to be restricted to professional pest controllers.

Llewelyn Lowen, scientific information officer for the RSPCA, said: “We’re opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all glue traps because they cause unacceptable suffering and are totally indiscriminate in what they catch, ensnaring wild animals like birds and even pets.

“Glue traps may seem like an effective way to catch rodents without killing them, but they come with very serious welfare issues and subject those animals unfortunate enough to get caught to horrific suffering. Even the way they’re designed to catch animals – by sticking their limbs to the board as they cross it – inflicts pain and distress.

“Once the poor animal is stuck, they begin to struggle to free themselves, and in doing so, more and more parts of their body become trapped in the glue. In their increasing panic and desperation to escape, rats and mice have been found to tear patches of their fur out, break bones, and even gnaw their own limbs off in a bid to be free.

“After only three to five hours, trapped animals have been found exhausted and covered in their own faeces and urine. Many animals die within the first 24 hours from starvation, dehydration, exhaustion, or even suffocation – caused by the glue blocking their nasal passages.

"But many continue to suffer for long after that.

"If the animal is found whilst still alive - they can be left for days at a time without being checked – many people may then try to kill them, perhaps by drowning or some other method that then causes further suffering. Other people may just dump the live animal and the trap in a rubbish bin, or they might not even check on the trap at all. So the animal is left to suffer even more before dying.”

Glue traps are currently legal to use and are openly available to everyone.

However, any animal caught in a glue trap is protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

This means that if an animal suffers unnecessarily as a result of inappropriate or poor use of the trap, or through a failure to release or kill the animal in an appropriate way, an offence may have been committed.

The RSPCA is currently running the “Wild Animals and Glue Traps” campaign.

As part of this project, the RSPCA is asking that anyone who sees glue traps on sale to the general public to email with the name and address of the store where the traps are being sold and the date the traps were on sale.

The charity will then write to the retailer and ask them to consider stopping the sale of glue traps at their store, remove all glue traps from their stock and not to re-stock them in the future – to prevent the problem recurring.

RSPCA say the project has seen success, with Amazon UK removing the traps from its website following contact from the charity.

If you see an animal you have concerns about call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999 - however, never try to free an animal from a snare or trap – you risk hurting yourself and the animal.