The RSPCA is warning about the dangers of deadly glue traps after a hedgehog was found stuck in one in a garden in Bolton.

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 urging people not to set glue traps because of the dangers they pose to wildlife and even pets.

The hedgehog was found on a trap by a member of public in Young Street, Farnsworth, at about 8pm on Sunday(27 March). She reported the matter to the RSPCA and Animal Rescue Officer (ARO) Sonia Hulme was sent to the scene.

ARO Sonia said: “These traps are cruel and cause awful suffering to these animals and other wildlife - and even pets - who are often left helpless and suffer a lingering death.

“Usually the traps are so adhesive that any animals trapped on them are unable to free themselves and in their panic they rip off limbs and skin and suffer horrendously.

“In this incident I rushed the hedgehog to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital and thankfully we were able to free him by trimming around some fur. He was very lucky as if he hadn't been found the situation could’ve been very different.

“Fortunately he was not too badly injured from his ordeal and will now recover in our care at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre where he will be released back into the wild once he is returned to full health.

“I would urge any members of the public who are using glue traps to stop doing so and remove them. No matter which animal is caught up in them - they are cruel and terrible devices that cause so much pain and suffering - and in this case it was to a poor hedgehog.”

The RSPCA says it sees cases of many animals caught up in glue traps - as any animal can get caught up on them. Previously, Greater Manchester RSPCA also helped in an incident in which a robin was stuck by its chest, legs and wings in a trap left on Pink Bank Lane, Levenshulme. The bird had broken both legs in trying to escape from the trap and again sadly had to be put to sleep to end their suffering.

The Bolton News:

In January a robin was found near Buckfastleigh in Devon stuck on a glue trap 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 poor robin.

Then the previous month - on December 13 - a pigeon was found by staff at the Odeon Cinema in the Trafford Centre, Greater Manchester, stuck by its chest and wings. Unfortunately the injuries were so severe the poor bird also had to be put to sleep to end its suffering.

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.

RSPCA Wildlife scientific officer, Evie Button, 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 would always urge people never to use glue traps, and to opt for humane deterrence of rats and mice instead, which is often the only long-term solution for rodent control. This could include limiting food availability, using rodent-proof food containers and bins, decluttering, keeping storage areas tidy and blocking access holes using sealant or mouse mesh.

“The RSPCA is welcoming moves to clamp down on the use of cruel glue traps in England after the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill has become one step closer to becoming law this month (March) when the House of Lords gave the Glue Traps (Offences) Bill an unopposed second reading and it has already cleared the House of Commons.”

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.

If you see an animal you have concerns about please 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.