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Letters to the Editor: Wildlife and Traps Don’t Mix

Posted by at 6:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)


opossumOne simple way that you can help animals is to write letters to the editors of newspapers and other publications. Below is a letter that my husband and I wrote to a local paper in our area-and they published it. Sorry, the pictures are a bit gruesome, but the situation involved an animal in agony.

Letter to Editor:

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I found a struggling young opossum stuck in our chain link fence. We discovered it was actually a cheap, plastic rat trap on his front leg that was caught so we immediately cut the fence, took off the trap, and found that his leg had turned black with gangrene. It was grossly swollen and had been cut in half. The animal had undoubtedly been in agony for days. He was so weak he did not even struggle as we put in him a cat carrier. We were then told by Project Wildlife that, unlike raccoons, opossums cannot survive in the wild with three legs, so this possum had to be euthanized.

Lethal animal traps may sound like a quick fix to some people, but they are torture for wildlife. They clamp onto the animal’s leg, causing larger animals to run away in terror. The person who set the trap may never see the animal, but his neighbors will.

An animal caught in a trap has little chance for survival and endures days of excruciating pain, fear, and hunger. The trap we found was meant for mice or rats, but here in old Encinitas, we also have opossums, skunks, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, birds, and other animals who may get trapped.

Most people don’t know that opossums, along with skunks, eat rodents and help keep their populations under control. If we kill the wild animals who thrive in our neighborhoods, we break this natural cycle and compound the rodent problem.

If you have a rodent problem, please don’t use lethal traps or poison. Live traps are easy, inexpensive, and humane, allowing you to release animals away from your house. Remember to check them several times daily and release the animal as soon as possible, as they can dehydrate in a matter of hours if it is warm.

This is not the first time we have found injured or dead animals in our yard, but with some awareness, Encinitasians will find how easy and rewarding it is to live peacefully with the wildlife around us.

Laura and David Frisk

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8 Comments

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    Angela says...

    October 24th, 2008, 6:32 pm

    I have to agree that is pretty gruesome, If anyone you know has a problem at thier home, please stress to them to use live traps. It is so much more humane. And thank you writer for spreading the word. Hopefully your words will have made a change for wildlife.

    Garet says...

    October 25th, 2008, 10:04 am

    One of my experiences with opossums was when I found one hit by a car. It had been carrying it’s babies. The mother and one baby had passed away but the rest of the 4-5 babies had actually crawled back to the mother and were nursing on here lifeless body in the middle of the street. I was heart broken at this site. So I took them and the mother to a nearby wildlife care center in Florida where the babies were cared for by a person who specialized in opossums.

    Merilyn says...

    October 25th, 2008, 12:15 pm

    So very sad. I can’t believe anyone would set those traps outside!!! Even worst, are the horrible glue traps where animals starve to death! I discard them whenever I come across any and have removed many a lizard from them, using oil to help remove the glue. It has to be done very slowly. It should be illegal to manufacture those awful glue traps!
    Some folks are so very inconsiderate. How unfortunate for the wildlife that allow us to co-exist on their planet.

    Katrelya says...

    October 26th, 2008, 2:41 pm

    I am deeply saddened that the opossum whom Laura and David found was suffering from gangrene (and was consequently euthanized) as a direct result of having been trapped in a cruel lethal device intended for nuisance animals. While I believe that no animal, not even a wild rat, should suffer, once again, we are made tragically aware that lethal traps, whether they be glue traps or wooden or wooden or plastic ones that snap on an animal’s body, do not discriminate between “pests” and beneficial wildlife, including, but not limited to, opossums and songbirds.

    As Laura pointed out, opossums are extremely helpful by eating garden pests. In addition to eating rodents, they also consume snails, slugs, insects, and spoiled fruit such as bad avocados and grapes. Furthermore, if beneficial animals who eat the very pests that traps are set to kill are, themselves, trapped, then I believe that lethal traps are not only cruel, but a complete waste of money.

    Those who are having rodent and/or reptile problems might be wise to ask PETA or their local Humane Society about effective non-lethal means of animal control, such as barriers and non-animal-tested chemical sprays designed to repel animals from certain areas, and electronic devices that make sounds that humans cannot hear, but which animals such as rats and mice may find repulsive. I believe excluding wild rats and other animals from the home is much more effective, humane, and cost-effective than those deadly traps!

    brooklyn says...

    December 2nd, 2008, 4:48 pm

    my teacher keeps a glue trap

    merilyn says...

    December 26th, 2008, 10:35 pm

    Brooklyn, tell your teacher she has no compassion. If she can watch a bird or lizard or anything else get stuck and just starve to death and feel nothing, then she is a part of the problem we all speak of. Heartlessness.

    Alexandra Stanislavova says...

    September 19th, 2009, 5:57 am

    Brooklyn, I agree with Merilyn, so maybe you and your schoolmates could prepare some presentation to inform others (and the teacher) what is the problem with glue traps. It is unbelievable that civilized society uses such primitive, cruel traps…or rather objects … trap itself is cruel one.
    The only trap has its meaning: when you need just to catch an animal for the purpose to help it or to replace it from your garden to the nature or somewhere where it is safe for the animal.

    Alexandra Stanislavova says...

    September 19th, 2009, 5:58 am

    PS: To my comment – I meant a trap working with such mechanism: just to catch the animal, NOT to hurt it, deform it, or glue it.

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