The use of self-locking snares is prohibited under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Although illegal in the UK, self-locking snares are still used and cause severe injuries to a variety of animals species.
A self-locking snare is a wire loop device which continues to tighten by a ratchet action as the animal struggles. Its aim is to catch the victims around the neck, so that they die through strangulation or by dislocation of the neck.
A slow death by strangulation – or even near decapitation in some cases – is bad enough. But snares do not only capture animals by the neck. Some animals get their legs caught in snares, and end up with the snare cutting down to the bone. Such animals may attempt to escape by gnawing off their own limbs. Other animals are caught around the body. Both badgers and foxes have been found with snares that have almost cut them in half, the snares around their bodies having tightened to around five centimetres in diameter inflicting terrible injuries. Some of these animals were still alive when found.
Unfortunately self-locking snares are easy to make and there are certain types of free-running snare that can be converted.