A terrible death
It's not an easy way for an animal to go; even the rare few who make it to wildlife rescues with no apparent injuries usually succumb to constriction damage. "Even if the animal is functioning and it's eating the limb is dying," Sarah Glesner, animal care supervisor for Wildwoods, a Duluth, Minnesota–based wildlife rescue, told The Dodo.
Wildwoods sees dozens of animals each year who have been escaped from traps - often with the metal jaws still hanging on them. Not one victim of leghold traps the rescue has treated has survived.
Animals will also come in with abrasions from rubbing against the traps and damaged mouths from trying to gnaw the traps off - or their own limbs. "They'll break teeth off, they'll have blood in their mouth, they'll have cuts on their tongues," she explained. "[And] some people say, oh no, that's a myth, they won't chew their limbs off. But it's true ... we've seen squirrels do this, racoons do this."
In one recent case, a scared raccoon was found caught in an illegally set trap that Glesner calls a "marshmallow trap," which consists of a small cylindrical trap with a marshmallow stuffed inside. "It's specially designed to catch raccoons because they're so curious about what's in that hole that they can't really help themselves," she said.
Like so many others, this little racoon reached in for the marshmallow, and the trap clamped around her hand. Though she was brought to Wildwoods, "her little hand was cold," Glesner said, and the damage was so bad she had to be put down.