Baby Skunk with Her Nose in a Rat Trap

Baby Skunk with Her Nose in a Rat Trap

Imagine how much it would hurt to have your nose stuck in the jaws of a rat trap!

That's exactly what happened to this young skunk.

At this age, young skunks, foxes and raccoons are old enough to be out of the den, foraging with their mother, but they're still small enough to fit into tight spaces, like the boxes that are supposed to prevent nontarget wildlife from encountering rat traps.

This little skunk must have poked her inquisitive nose a little too far into the box, or she encountered a trap that wasn't enclosed, and the result was devastating.

Dozens of young animals, mostly skunks, but other animals too, arrive at WildCare's Wildlife Hospital every year with their limbs or other body parts clamped horrifically in snap traps.

Each one of these rat trap patients requires an unbelievable amount of care. Rat trap patients require daily (or twice-daily) medications for pain and swelling and to increase blood flow to areas constricted by the trap. They also need extensive wound treatments, and these treatments can go on for months because of the nature of constriction and compression injuries.

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In this photo, you can see our skunk patient four days after intake. WildCare's Veterinarian, Dr. Sorem, is examining her nose and applying lidocaine to allow her to assess the damage, and hopefully remove some of the necrotic tissue on the nose.

With both nostrils plugged by swollen and dying tissue, the young skunk has to take gulping breaths through her mouth, which has inhibited her ability to eat. This exam and procedure did help open one of the skunk's nostrils, allowing her to breathe easier. Additional procedures will hopefully reveal the other nostril, and continue the skunk's healing.

The prognosis for this skunk is guarded, but our team has hopes she'll make a full recovery and be able to be released back to the wild.

Please do not use traps outdoors!

This young skunk's ordeal, and that of dozens of other wildlife patients could have been avoided!

WildCare asks you to PLEASE not place traps outside where animals nest, hunt, forage, and make their homes! Traps should ONLY be used inside, after all rodent entry points have been sealed shut.

Distributing deadly devices or poisonous bait outside where animals roam is unfair, unkind, inhumane, and can also pose risks to pets and children.

Remember: the outdoors is where wild animals, including rodents, should be! Not wanting rodents inside our homes is understandable, but seeing rodents in your yard is not a reason to put out traps or poison. 

The best way to get rid of rodents in your yard is to remove what is attracting them. Take down bird feeders, or consistently sweep up seed every evening, pick up fallen fruit, and don’t feed pets outdoors.

Reducing food sources in your yard will dramatically reduce rodent activity, eliminating the need for traps.

In addition, any time you place a trap you MUST commit to checking that trap twice a day, in the morning and in the evening!

Snap and clamp traps often do not effectively kill the trapped animal, so even if the animal is a targeted rodent, he cannot be allowed to suffer and die slowly in the trap.

Checking traps twice a day ensures that an injured animal won't be left to suffer. WildCare admits many rats and mice, along with other animals, that have been trapped, but not killed, by snap traps.

Questions about traps or how to humanely solve a rodent problem? Call WildCare's Hotline at 415-456-7283!

Learn more about traps, and the care rat trap patients require in an article from the WildCare Newsletter, linked as a PDF here.