Snares are wire nooses used to trap animals. They are normally classed as either a self locking snares which is illegal or a free running snares which is legal. But as we will see, many so called free running snares can easily become self locking snares.

Dual purpose fox snare Dual Purpose Snares – Illegal

This fox snare is set as self locking. Bizarrely they are still sold, but should only have the wire threaded through the hole on the vertical part of the strut. For more information visit our dual purpose snare page.

AB Snares - Illegal and Legal AB Snares – Illegal and Legal

This fox snare is manufacturered by AB Country Products. It was found to be self-locking in its original design, but has recently been modified to make it free-running. However, thousands of the old snares are still in use, so one to examine carefully to see if they lock. Visit our AB snare page for more info.

Self Locking Fox Snare Self Locking Snares – Illegal

This fox snare is particular rare in the UK and was probably imported. The use of self-locking snares is prohibited under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. However many are still in use today.

Home made snaresHome Made Snares

A home made snare that will either lock up or can be free running. Badgers have escaped from them, but not before scalping themselves. Many rabbit snares are home made and range in injury they caused to the trapped animal.

Rabbit snaresRabbit Snares

Are usually made from stranded brass wire fitted with either wire tealers or natural tealers (nylon cord, etc).

Hansen kill pole snareKill Pole Snares – Illegal

Although illegal it is difficult to prove it is. This snare is promoted as a Kill Pole snare by some UK snarers on hunting web sites. Apparently the aim is that the fox will get caught and then strangle itself as it gets wrapped around the metal pole in the struggle.

“New Code Compliant snare with Breakaway”

The Code Compliant New Snare with Breakaway

This is a much-touted snare that was designed by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and while it can be found much more often, the extra cost ensures it is not widespread in its use.
The Welsh parliament looked into banning snares in 2017, but instead decided in promoting the use of the new breakaway snare in a new Code of Practice for Wales. However, while the claim is deer and hares can escape because of the stop which is fixed wider than before, our experience is this is not the case.


New Code compliant Breakaway snare in practice: twisted and now locking up.
Diagram of breakaway snare.

Diagram of new breakaway snare. 

The weak link is supposed to allow a fully grown badger to escape.  In reality this is not occurring.  No one can pull it apart with gloved hands, so imagine trying to do it with your neck!





Look out for snares. See if they are near badger setts, or set illegally. Always carry a camera and make notes of any carnage you see.

Always contact the RSPCA when you suspect an offence and also notify us. Please exercise caution if notifying a Police Wildlife Liaison Officer of an offence. Whilst the majority do an outstanding job, some are heavily into bloodsports themselves. For more information see our law page.