As reported by the Times online, scientists working in the Philippines have discovered a rare pitcher plant so large that it can digest rats. (These plants attract insects and other creatures, who drown in a pool of liquid secreted by and contained within the leaves, and are subsequently digested by the plant.)
The species, Nepenthes attenboroughii, is named after David Attenborough. To be fair, another larger species in the genus is known to have eaten rodents, which are almost certainly not the main food of these plants.
Like all carnivorous plants, pitcher plants are marvels of natural selection, and later I’ll have a few things to say about how they might have evolved from non-carnivorous relatives.
Figure 1. Nepenthes attenboroughii
11 thoughts on “Rat-eating plant!”
How well do they survive in basements? Are mice a delicacy for them?
I’m pretty sure the information panel for these Nepanthes Miranda I photographed at Kew last year mentioned that the larger specimens could digest a rat
I’m growing a Nepenthes in my windowsill, though nowhere near as large. If there was such a thing as karma, carnivorous plants would be its manifestation.
Yikes.. that’s pretty scary! I have never seen a plant eating rat before. Any youtube video for this?
If you search ‘nepenthes’ on YouTube there are many things being eaten, including a couple of mice. This is David Attenborough himself creeping up on one of the monsters
Thank you for posting the video. It was beautiful to watch.
Now all we need to find out is: what did these plants eat in the Garden, before the fall?
They didn’t need to eat. They sat around singing ‘kumbaya’ and the camaraderie was all the nourishment that was necessary.
A magnificent specimen, glad to see Attenborough will be remembered in a species name.
According to wikipedia, there are at least 3 other species or genera with his name. The pitcher plant is already on there.
This is a perfect example of intelligent design. Of course, in this case, it would also be proof of not one deity that creates but one of many that are going around designing willy-nilly.
Perhaps there are poker games where the winner gets to create something new… marsupials and large mammals by the more successful poker players….. pitcher plants by the one-in-a-million bluff player.
Intelligent design? ubetcha, but why stop at one intelligence……