CRUEL glue traps which lure harmless owls, birds and kittens to their death should be banned, an animal charity says.

The RSPCA managed to rescue a snake which got caught in a blob of glue in Lippitts Hill, Loughton just in time.

Although she is likely to make a full recovery and is currently being treated at South Essex Wildlife Hospital, other animals have not been so lucky.

The lethal glue boards are illegal and consist of a sheet of cardboard and plastic or wood coated with a non-drying adhesive.

The RSPCA is now calling for people who spot shopkeepers trying to sell them to report them immediately.

Epping Forest Guardian:

RSPCA Inspector Kate Fletcher said: “Glue-traps should be banned. I’ve found birds, snakes and even kittens stuck in them.

"The public should be made aware of the risk these horrific devices pose to non-target species.

“For example, only last weekend I rescued a grass snake from a trap that had been set in a security office in Loughton. “Sadly, many animals, especially birds, have to be euthanised because the damage done is just too great. It is not a humane trap for any animal as they are not killed outright and have to undergo prolonged periods of distress before they are then found and dispatched.”

Although glue traps may seem like a good way to catch rodents without killing them, they can subject the animals to “horrific” suffering.

Llewelyn Lowen, the RSPCA’s scientific information officer, said: “It inflicts pain and distress.”

In their panic to escape, rats and mice tear patches of their fur out, break bones and gnaw at their own limbs.

Report traps by emailing or calling 0300 1234. Never try to free an animal from a trap yourself.