Yes, tropical pitcher plants *do* eat rodents!

In a recent post, I showed a photo of a painted pitcher plant (Nepenthes burbidgeae) in the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory:

Nepenthes burbidgeae at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory

This carnivorous plant from the highlands of Borneo has a pitcher large enough to hold a small animal. 

I haven't been able to determine what exactly this species of Nepenthes “eats,” but you might have seen the video below that has been making the rounds on Facebook, reddit, and other content aggregators in the last few days:


It shows a Nepenthes hybrid, Nepenthes truncata × lowii, at California Carnivores in Sebastopol, CA that caught a rat or a mouse earlier this year. In the video, Damon Collingsworth, co-owner and general manager of California Carnivores, cuts open the pitcher to see what's left of the rodent. It's a pretty amazing thing to see. (Don't worry, it isn't gross.)

If you want to find out more about carnivorous plants, Damon Collingsworth is the featured guest in this episode of the In Defense of Plants podcast.

And if you want to see pretty darn amazing footage of a rat getting trapped in a Nepenthes, watch this video on the Smithsonian Channel (skip to the 2:30 mark if you're impatient).

I'm trying hard not to get sucked into the world of carnivorous plants, but like the bee teetering on the lip of the pitcher plant in the Smithsonian video, I'm on slippery ground.


© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. No part of the materials available through www.succulentsandmore.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Gerhard Bock. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Gerhard Bock is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States and international copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Gerhard Bock. If you are reading this post on a website other than www.succulentsandmore.com, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.

Comments

  1. I've always heard about this in the gardening circuit through the years but never really looked into it. Have even read a few times that this was a myth. It's good to see some evidence that it does, fascinating!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are the most beautiful rat traps ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure! But not the best for mass capture of rats and mice!

      Delete
  3. Well, that's one form of critter control. I wonder exactly how long it takes the plant to do its job?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Don't think there is a more fascinating group of plants out there. It would be easy for you to dip your toes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid I might not leave it at simply dipping my toes...

      Delete

Post a Comment