In Arizona we have scorpions, and lots of other little things that we don’t want inside our homes. A common way to deal with that is to lay down sticky glue traps in the garage and wherever they seem to be getting in. It works great for their intended target, but there are often some unintended victims.
Every year we are called to examine remains of snakes and lizards that crawled into the glue and died. While most wouldn’t care about this kind of thing, plenty of others (most likely like you, since you’re reading this) would rather the sticky stuff stick to scorpions and the leave the other critters free to go.
If it’s a venomous snake or you aren’t sure, don’t do anything yourself.
If a snake is venomous, it’s not worth the risk. Call a professional to assist. If you’re not sure if it’s venomous or not, take a photograph to send them.
How to get the snake free (no, you don’t have to touch it)
There’s a very simple answer that any house will have on-hand – non-stick cooking spray! The oil neutralizes the glue of the trap, allowing animals caught in the glue to work themselves free. Here’s how you do it:
- Move the spray trap to a place where the animal can get away when it gets off the glue. If it’s a rattlesnake, don’t use your hands. Make sure it’s not moved into the sun or to a hot surface.
- Lightly spray non-stick spray onto exposed glue in places where the snake hasn’t touched. This prevents it from getting re-stuck when it escapes.
- Very carefully spray all around the animal, covering it in oil. Be extra careful around the head to not spray too much right onto the face of the snake if at all possible. If it is a rattlesnake or you’re not sure what it is, keep as much distance as you can. It may take a few minutes for the snake to work itself free, but there is no need to take any chances.
- The snake will wriggle free and crawl off, smelling like popcorn.
Most of the time the snake will survive. Don’t worry about the snake being covered with oil. Dirt and dust will stick to the snake and it will be clean in a few days with no lasting damage.
Do glue traps even do the job?
Aside from the obvious issues of unintended victims, there’s the question of whether or not glue traps even help your situation at all. It needs more investigation, but it very well be the case that removing predators like geckos and whiptail lizards from the environment may leave you with even more scorpions and spiders than you could possibly catch in a trap.