Two robins have died after they became stuck on a glue trap thought to be left out to catch mice or rats.
A horrified passer-by rushed the two tiny birds to a wildlife rescue centre after finding them in a distressed state in Lydiard Millicent, Wilts., on Wednesday.
Staff at the RSPCA North Wiltshire Oak & Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre managed to free both robins from the sticky boards using coconut oil and butter, but they both later died as a result of their suffering.
Images released by the animal charity show the birds stuck breast down on the cardboard, and coated in glue once they had been released.
The RSPCA is now warning of the dangers of glue traps and urging people not to use them.
Anj Saunders, from the specialist wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility, said: “We managed to get them off the trap using coconut oil and butter, and tried our best to get the sticky glue off the feathers.
“We’d really hoped they’d survive but sadly they both died as a result of what they’d suffered.
"These are hideous traps and cause horrendous suffering to animals who become caught on them.
"They usually die slow and painful deaths.
“We urge people not to use these horrible traps and, instead, to please investigate humane methods of deterring rodents to avoid any animal suffering the way these robins did."
Glue traps - also known as ‘glue boards’ or ‘sticky boards’ - consist of a sheet of cardboard, plastic or wood coated with non-drying adhesive.
An RSPCA spokesperson said in a statement: "The RSPCA is opposed to the manufacture, sale and use of all glue traps because they cause unacceptable suffering to both the target species and other non-target species which fall victim to them.
"Unfortunately, it is legal to use them to catch rats and mice."
It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to intentionally catch, kill or injure wild birds using glue traps.
The spokesman added: "Anyone using these traps should take precautions to prevent causing death or injury to any non-target animals as these traps are indiscriminate."
RSPCA scientific officer, Evie Button, said said of the devices: “They 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.
“Many animals die within the first 24 hours from starvation, dehydration, exhaustion, or even suffocation – caused by the glue blocking their nasal passages.”
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