On May 23 a couple in Woodinville, WA discovered the hard way that mouse traps do not make a distinction between mice and any other small animals that might try to take the bait. In this case, a Townsends Chipmunk had investigated the snap-style trap that had been put outside by the property owners in the hopes of reducing the number of mice on the property. The sound of high pitched squeaks prompted them to check their trap, and they were horrified to discover the injured chipmunk caught in its spring-loaded grip. After freeing the unintended victim from the trap, they brought him to PAWS for treatment.
When wildlife rehabilitators at PAWS examined the chipmunk, they found that he had suffered serious head trauma. In addition, he was bleeding from a wound by his right ear and both the radius and ulna in his right foreleg had been fractured. He was treated for shock, given medications to reduce swelling in his brain and injured leg, and started on antibiotics to prevent infection in the wound by his ear. He responded well to treatment. Over the course of the following week the chipmunk slowly recovered from the head trauma. His fractured leg began to heal and by June 4 he was moved to an outdoor enclosure to continue his recovery.
As of this writing, the chipmunk was bright, alert and doing well in his new environment. In the photo you can see that he is favoring his right forelimb. He uses the leg when running and climbing, but it will still be some time before it is fully healed and his soreness subsides. Fortunately though, he is expected to make a full recovery. If you are having a conflict with mice or rats on your property, please remember that any measures you use to address the problem may be dangerous for other wild neighbors. For more information on humanely solving rodent conflicts see the mice and rats fact sheet on the PAWS website.