This evening, we were called out to rescue a skunk that had been left to die in a rat trap at a residence in Bonny Doon.
The homeowner had noticed the skunk in the trap earlier that morning but it was barely moving so they left for the day, only to return to find the skunk was very much alive - just more awake, as it was nearing nightfall.
The trap had been set outside to kill rats around a chicken coop. The coop was not constructed with the right material to prevent rodents from getting in, so it's been a great attractant to rats and mice, and, the carnivores, like skunks, that eat them.
Snap traps are not meant to be set out in the open where other animals can get to them - but that's not made clear on the packaging. This brand, one of the newer heavy-duty traps with interlocking teeth made by Bell Labs and distributed by Scotts Miracle-Gro, is particularly dangerous to non-target animals.
Because of the number of animals being caught and mortally wounded in these traps, we contacted Bell Laboratories and Scotts Miracle-Gro, asking them to add warnings on the packaging.
In March, Bell Labs responded by adding some language to their online product page and sell sheet, promoting use of a protective box to prevent exposure to children, pets, and wildlife. We'd hoped for more, but it's a start.
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company was receptive, indicating they would look into adding precautionary language and developing content on their product pages and tutorials, but we have yet to hear back from them. We'll be sharing this latest casualty with both companies.
In the end, the little skunk was freed from the trap, but he was badly injured. Check out the video, below.
The trap had snapped down on the skunks humorous. The leg was very badly swollen, having been in the trap for possibly 24 hours. We delivered the animal to Native Animal Rescue's skunk expert, Monique, where we hope it will make a full recovery.