Safe Trails
Danger: Trapping Ahead

Dangers to Wild Animals

bobcat in trap

Although we occasionally hear about a dog or cat being caught, maimed and sometimes killed by a trap, hundreds of thousands of other "non-targeted" animals fall victim to these hideous, indiscriminate devices. Victims range from birds and squirrels to endangered species. Trappers generally are not required to report such incidents and it's not a stretch to assume they would not report them, regardless.

Furthermore, in some states trappers are not even required to check their traps regularly, which means that non-targeted victims, who might have had a chance to survive were they to be set free, are guaranteed to die in a starkly awful manner.

If not killed outright by a trap, the animal can suffer physical trauma, dehydration, exposure to inclement weather, and predation by other animals. She can further injure herself in frantic attempts to escape, such as by breaking teeth through attempts to bite through the trap or — this is not a myth — chewing through their trapped paw or leg to break free, usually only to die later.

Born Free USA estimates that more than 300,000 times every year, domestic animals and "non-targeted" wildlife are caught in traps set throughout the United States. We maintain an online database of reported incidents of non-targeted animals who have been trapped, and either killed or suffered from crushed limbs and broken bones. But our database represents only the tip of the iceberg, as most cases go unreported.

This site was developed to help hikers, campers, walkers and anyone enjoying the outdoors or who cares about wildlife to learn more about trapping. We've presented a trapping FAQ to help you understand the basics of trapping and put to rest the myths of trapping as humane, regulated, or a "necessary" wildlife management tool. You can also learn how your state compares to others and how to coexist with wildlife in your community.

We hope this site helps you find safe and happy trails for both you and wildlife.