Why are you trapping?
“Is there a different or better way to handle this?” ” What do I do with a trapped animal?” and “What is the best and safest way to trap an animal?” should all be questions you ask yourself before you decide to trap an animal.
The most common reason that people trap an animal is that the animal is being a nuisance or is causing property damage. First,l you need to ask yourself why the animal is doing this? Animals for the most part are opportunistic and if an opportunity arises for them to get an easy meal or place for shelter they will take it. This combined with, in the case of wildlife, the loss of habitat due to development make instances of wildlife and human conflicts more common. Areas that they used to find shelter in or searched for food have been replaced with commercial and residential building. An animal may be in your area just as it is passing through enroute to another location or it may be attracted there because there is a source of food or shelter. If you live in an area with a lot of intact habitat you will never be without the occasional visits from our wild neighbors.
So,” what are my options?” you may be asking yourself. The best and only lasting way to deal with the situation is to address the problem and not a symptom of the problem.
Here is an example:
An opossum is continually getting into my garbage cans.
WRONG ANSWER: Trap the opossum and relocate it. This will only provide a short term answer. Where there is one opossum there are more and another hungry one will end up doing the same thing.
RIGHT ANSWER: Keep a secure lid on your trash cans at all times. This removes the source of the problem, easy access to food.
Exclusion, if feasible, is usually the best method of coping with nuisance wildlife. Exclusion, removing food sources, secure trash containers and picking up outdoor pet food at night are just a few of the many ways to deal with a situation and in most cases are the only permanent resolution.
Depending on the target animal, there are a number of possible humane resolutions before having to resort to trapping There are many agencies in addition to ours, that you can seek alternative resolutions from. In many cases just trapping alone will never alleviate the perceived issue with wildlife especially if you live in an area in close proximity to stable habitat. However, trapping in conjunction with exclusion, can work. This is done by trapping the culprit animal at the same time preventing it from repeating the activity.
I have trapped an animal, now what do I do?
Due to the fact that most nuisance animals that are trapped are mammals, there is always a concern for the spread of zoonotic disease ( a disease that can be transmitted between animals and humans ) and in particular the rabies virus. Theoretically any “warm blooded” animal can carry the rabies virus but there are animals that are considered low risk or high risk. The most commonly trapped wildlife species, the raccoon, is also our highest high risk rabies carrier.
Always use caution when dealing with any wildlife, or domestic animals that are trapped. Trapping an animal can be very emotionally stressful on the animal and they can become aggressive or defensive if they feel threatened. Any incidents of a bite or a scratch must be reported to our department to ensure that there is no transfer of the rabies virus. This is another excellent reason to call upon the services of a professional trapper.
When an animal is trapped, you may call a professional animal trapper to service the trap. Please look for a trapper that services your area of the community. Exclusion, if feasible, is usually the best method of coping with nuisance wildlife. Exclusion, removing food sources, secure trash containers and picking up outdoor pet food at night are just a few of the many ways to deal with a situation and in most cases are the only permanent resolution.
Depending on the target animal, there are a number of possible humane resolutions before having to resort to trapping. There are many agencies in addition to ours, that you can seek alternative resolutions from. In many cases just trapping alone will never alleviate the perceived issue with wildlife especially if you live in an area in close proximity to stable habitat. However, trapping in conjunction with exclusion can work. This is done by trapping the culprit animal at the same time preventing it from repeating the activity.
What happens to the animal that is trapped?
In the case of wildlife, the animals are relocated in suitable habitat in the area, domestic animals, such as cats, are taken to the nearest animal shelter. In some instances the animal may be released on scene where it is trapped. An example of this would be a lactating female raccoon. Most raccoon litters are born in April or May, although some late breeding females can give birth as late as August. These babies, usually between 3 and 5, are not weaned until between 2 and 4 months of age. Due to this fact if a female raccoon is trapped during this time of year she may be feeding young and she would be released in order to continue to do so if she is lactating. Another example would be a cat from a registered feral colony. A feral/community cat is always “ear-tipped” to show anyone that it has been spay/neutered, micro-chipped and had a rabies shot. These cats make be released from a trap in order to return to their colony.
Traps can be purchased at many garden supply centers, feed and seed stores, and hardware stores. They can also be rented from our department for feral/community cat trapping and you can call and be placed on a waiting list. Successful trapping is a result of using a trap of appropriate size and using bait that is attractive to your target animal. Use a trap that is large enough for the animal to enter and turn around. If the trap is too small the animal will have to back it’s way out and will be reluctant to go inside.
Place the trap where the animal feels secure for example under a deck instead of on top of it or along a fence instead of in the middle of the yard. If the trap is in the middle of the yard and the animal is trapped during the night it may not be an issue but once the sun comes up that animal is now in direct sunlight.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the animal is trapped and maintained in a humane manner until it can be transported. Trapping an animal is stressful on the animal to begin with and adding additional external stimuli such as animals or people harassing the animal, excessive heat, cold, or rain can add to the trauma, causing the animal to become injured or die as a result. Since you are the one trapping the animal and preventing it from leaving the area you are responsible for the outcome. If an animal becomes injured or dies as a result of negligence in trapping the individual may be liable civilly or criminally. The intent of trapping is to safely contain an animal so that it can be safely transported somewhere else. It should be used as a last resort and not in any way to make the animal suffer.
Use bait that is attractive to your target animal but not so attractive to non-target animals. Bait placement is important for some animals. For animals reluctant to enter the trap, trail baiting, leaving a small trail of food or scent for them to follow, can help guide them into a trap. Make sure the animal cannot reach through the sides of the trap. Some animals, such as raccoons, will reach over the trip plate to to the bait without triggering the trap. They will also roll or drag traps so they may need to be secured to prevent this.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a professional trapper or our Animal Control department at (850)244- 0196 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and allow us to assist you.