The RSPCA is warning people on the South Hams about the dangers of glue traps after a robin died locally after getting stuck on a deadly sticky board.

The shocking pictures show the charity’s animal rescuers battling to save the small bird’s life - highlight the damage caused as the charity urges people to stop setting these traps.

Glue traps, also known as glue boards or sticky traps, consist of a sheet of cardboard, plastic or wood coated with non-drying adhesive. 

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

The animal welfare charity is encouraging people not to set glue traps because of the dangers they pose to wildlife and even pets.

A Private Members’ Bill - the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill - is presently progressing through Parliament, and aims to make certain uses of glue traps an offence in England.

The RSPCA received 236 reports of glue trap incidents to its cruelty line from 2016 to 2020 involving animals including cats, garden birds, hedgehogs, squirrels and even a parrot. 

Less than 27% of animals involved in incidents seen by the RSPCA were rodents, and 73% of incidents involved non-target species such as pets and other wild animals,  many of which were too badly maimed and injured to survive. 

This robin was found near Buckfastleigh on Sunday January 23 before being rescued by an RSPCA officer who rushed the bird to the specialist wildlife centre in Somerset. Staff did everything they could to try to remove glue from the bird’s feathers, legs, and beak but sadly they were unable to save the robin.

Adam Grogan, RSPCA Head of Wild Animal Science and Policy 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.

?“The RSPCA is welcoming moves to clamp down on the use of the cruel glue traps in England after the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill became one step closer to becoming law on January 19. The Bill has now completed Committee Stage in the House of Commons and will have Report and Third Reading before moving to the House of Lords.

Despite the current lack of any legal restriction on who can purchase and use these traps, 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.

It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds. Although some actions may be taken against wild birds under licence, the use of glue traps is not permitted under any licence. Anyone caught deliberately using a glue trap to catch, injure or kill a wild bird can be sentenced to up to six months in prison and given an unlimited fine if found guilty.

If you see an animal you have concerns about you can 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. In many cases, animals are more seriously injured than they might look, so it is best that they are examined properly to see if they need veterinary treatment. 

For more information on the RSPCA’s glue traps project and how to report any traps you see on sale to the general public, please visit the RSPCA’s website.

The rescue teams will be out in all weathers this winter, rescuing animals from abuse, neglect and suffering.  To Join the Winter Rescue and help the rescuers be there for the animals in need, you can visit