A raccoon caught in an illegal trap is being treated at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley after being rescued by San Jose Animal Care and Services. The adult male was found stuck on a fence in South San Jose, near Villagewood Way and Camden Avenue.

The raccoon had been ensnared in two so-called dog-proof body-gripping raccoon traps. The traps are triggered when a raccoon or other create reaches into a tube and pulls on a baited lever. The trap is sprung and squeezes the animal's paws and legs.

The raccoon suffered broken bones and damage to his tail. The injuries are so severe, officials says, he may never be able to live in the wild again.

The raccoon (top photo) still caught in the "body hugger" trap. Other photos show injures to paw and wrist. These types of traps are restricted
The raccoon (top photo) still caught in the "body hugger" trap. Other photos show injures to paw and wrist. These types of traps are restricted only to government use, and it is illegal to trap animals without a permit. (Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley)

Trapping wildlife in California is illegal, requiring a special permit from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Body gripping traps can only be employed by governing agencies and are strictly regulated.

"I am shocked to see the animal in this condition," says Ashley Kinney, wildlife rehabilitation supervisor for the center. "I have never seen such a horrendous piece of equipment -- almost like a scene out of a horror movie."

Once the raccoon was admitted to the Wildlife Service, hospital staff quickly anesthetized him to assess the injuries, and started pain medications.

Once sedated, the staff worked to release its front paws and wrists from the trap, something that was extremely difficult to do, officials said.

"There was too much swelling to even begin to palpate for fractures," Kinney says.

Radiographs show a fracture of his left paw and another to the right wrist. The raccoon also suffered a tail injury from being trapped, and his tail likely will have to be amputated. Most trapped wild animals tend to self-mutilate in their frantic attempt to escape, and it appears that's what this raccoon did.

The Wildlife Center workers are fighting hard to treat his injuries and they are hopeful that he will recover, although the treatment and rehabilitation will be long and costly.

The center is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and San Jose Animal Services to catch the person or persons responsible. Officials ask that anyone having information about the crime contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at 888-334-2258, or San Jose Animal Care and Services at 408-794-7297.

Donations to help with the care of the raccoon can be made through the Center's website, www.wcsv.org.

The Wildlife Center, established in 1993, is an independent nonprofit organization that cares for about 4,000 sick, injured and orphaned wildlife each year. In addition to providing community outreach and education programs and special events that foster coexistence, the organization encourages community members to lend their support by joining a team of roughly 150 volunteers who donate their time to the well-being of local wildlife.

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com; or 1700 Cavallo Road, Antioch, CA 94509.