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World Today
Published on 07 Apr 2020 / In Pets & Animals

Plants That Eat Animals

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Some animals eat other animals, some other animals eat plants, and plants...plants get their energy from water and sun. And just like that, the cycle of life happens all around us. But while food chains usually place plants at the bottom of it all, nature really knows how to give us surprises. On today’s list we’ll be going through “10 Plants that Eat Animals”. That’s right! There are some plants out there that benefit from animals rather than the other way around, isn’t that a cool plot twist!? Like always, I save the best for last so make sure you stay with me until the end of this video. Some of these plants only eat little insects, but I’m sure you’ll want to know what plant is the one that can eat lizards and even small mammals! Could there be one that eats humans? Let’s find out.


A lot of plants on this list, or perhaps all of them, will make you feel like they were taken out of a sci-fi movie. At least that's how I feel about the Triphyophyllum, which we can also call "Liana". This plant goes through a lot of stages that it makes you wonder if this is actually a work of nature or a result of a crazy and evil experiment. During its first stage, the Liana grows its leaves, which have the shapes of ovals, but then, when it starts flowering, it also starts producing long and sticky leaves through to feed itself from insects. These leaves are capable of lure the poor insects and then catch them and even digest them. Towards the end of its life cycle, the liana's leaves are short and hooked, and they are about 30 meters long! But you don't have to worry about running into one of these in the wild unless you are in West Africa.

Portuguese Sundew

You probably thought all of the animal-eating plants on this list were probably found in humid or exotic locations like a remote jungle in the southern hemisphere. But that's not the case of The Portuguese Sundew. This plant actually grows in soil that lacks a lot of the nutrients necessary for a plant's survival. You can find it in Portugal, Spain and Morocco. So what can this plant do to make up for the lack of nutrients in the soil? Eat insects! of course! Just like many of the plants I have here today, the Portuguese Sundew fascinates nearby insects with a tempting aroma that makes them get closer and ultimately get trapped by a sticky substance on its leaves. The plant then is able to dissolve the bugs by using its specialized digestive enzymes and absorbs all of the nutrients that the Mediterranean soil fails to provide. That's what I call survival! You gotta do what it takes to stay alive in a place with limited resources and The Portuguese Sundew is a great example of that.

Brocchinia Reducta

What if I told you that the pineapple has a very twisted relative? I know, it's hard for us to think of plants the same way we do of animals and human beings, but plants are also living beings and just like us, they're also split into families. And yes, the pineapple does have a carnivorous relative and it's called Brocchinia Reducta. Both the Brocchinia and the pineapple belong to the Bromeliad family, which also includes Spanish mosses and many succulents with thick leaves. The brocchinia has long pitchers that allow it to absorb and reflect ultraviolet light, which makes insects go crazy. This plan then releases a smell, like many others on this list, and the bugs can't help but come closer. And just like that, this harmless looking plant ends the lives of many insects in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. Experts in carnivorous plants were actually not true if this plant belonged to the group, but they finally learned in 2005 that the brocchinia has those digestive enzymes that are common in animal eating plants.


The next plant I'll introduce you to is quite evil - it captures a lot insects but doesn't actually eat them! How messed up is that? Well, there's an explanation that will help us understand its behavior. The Roridula, which is originally from South Africa, has a lot of sticky hairs that help it capture insects just so a bunch of insects called Pameridea can come and eat the Roridula's catch. What's in it for the plant? Well, the plant can get all the nutrients it needs from the insect's waste. That is more than enough.

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