COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - It was a difficult picture for any animal lover to see. A federally protected screech owl was found stuck to a glue rat trap in Collier County last week.
"We have seen them where they actually can tear their legs off," Von Arx Hospital director Johanna Fitzgerald said, "Unfortunately, the person had put these glue traps out as a form of rodent control."
When the homeowner noticed the owl last week, he rushed it to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. They worked carefully and quickly to free the unresponsive bird's body by rubbing vegetable oil over it.
"You could just see that look in his eyes. And if you see that look in the picture, it's just not quite there. It's in shock," said Fitzgerald.
The screech owl managed to survive the ordeal and continues to be on the mend. But according to the Conservancy the bird still has a long way to go.
"He does have some pretty extensive damage to his feathers, his flight feathers primarily," Von Arx Hospital rehab specialist Jonee Miller said.
Conservancy officials say the owl could have to stick around up to one year. They won't let it go until it's ready to fly again.
It's one of the rarest injuries they deal with, but the Conservancy says it serves as an important warning.
"The traps are inhumane, even for a rodent, because they just stick to the glue and slowly starve and die," said Fitzgerald.
Courtesy: NBC News Channel