The world is full of many wonderful, yet strange things. Take carnivorous plants for example. Most plants are harmless and don’t seem to do much. They just sit there waiting to be watered, fertilized and eaten. But not carnivorous plants! Instead of waiting patiently to be fed, they take a more proactive approach and catch their own food! With an active appetite for insects and other small animals, these carnivorous plants are definitely not your average garden plant.
Carnivorous plants often grow in nutrient-poor soils and environments. As such, they need to trap and consume insects and other small animals to supplement their diet. To attract their unsuspecting prey, they rely on a few tricks. For example, one plant uses its sticky hairs to trap insects, while another lures its prey with the fragrance of sweet nectar. All plants use enzymes to help digest their prey.
Here are some examples of carnivorous plants:
Mouse eating pitcher plant:
Most carnivorous plants trap insects, but not this one. The plant is one of the largest carnivorous plants in the world and can grow up to 4 feet tall! So it prefers something more substantial and meaty! This jug-shaped plant, native to Southeast Asia, lures mice by secreting nectar along the rim of the plant. Once the mouse has fallen it, the acids and enzymes in the plant help it digest the carcass. Here’s a video of the plant in action:
The Sundew (Drosera)
This plant got its name, Sundew, from the dewdrops covering the plant that glisten in the sun. As beautiful and eye catching as this plant may be, it’s definitely dangerous! The dews are actually sticky traps for capturing insects. They also release enzymes for digestion. The tentacles will bend toward the centre of the plant, killing the insect.
Here’s a video a sundew plant in action:
The Venus Fly Trap is probably the most well-known carnivorous plants, which also makes them popular houseplants. These plants like to put on a show when it kills its prey. When open, the lobes of the leaves are an alluring pink flesh-like colour, attracting insects to take a closer look. As soon as an insect or spider makes contact with the tiny hairs, the trap snaps shut, killing its prey. Interestingly, Venus Fly Traps have been known to eat larger prey, like frogs.