Bug eating Plants!

Tropical pitcher plants are the kings of the carnivore plants on the planet. They are the only carnivorous plants which can grow to large sizes large enough to swallow huge insects to large rodents. There are more than 150 different species of tropical pitcher plants and every one shows mother nature’s dark side of revenge against small mammals & insects. The biggest tropical pitcher plant current is “Nepenthes Rajah”.

Although these plants are beautiful and produce some of the most amazing looking flowers that are entirely benign, the fact that the flower was made because of all of the nutrients it captured from the prey it devoured is frightening. To grow among those king carnivore plants in your backyard means to set up a death trap for any tiny critters nearby. In Lakeland Florida, the Nepenthes Miranda species is well known for capturing one particular prey far too often than any fleas and insect. Although this prey can potentially escape most of the time, it has been seen on YouTube, books & photography this prey can in fact drown and become plant dinner when it falls into a big trap which happens far too frequently in Lakeland Florida.

Anole lizards appear to play a large part inĀ Melbourne Fl Bat Removal any Nepenthes diet in Lakeland Florida. These lizards are everywhere and have been the main course to a meal plan oblivious. It’s really sad to see that these anole lizards became part of a plants source of protein; they don’t appear to get a break whatsoever. Not only do cats feast upon them, birds, large insects, Fish and other reptiles such as Frogs & Toads will gobble these lizards up and now we are adding plants as their enemies today?!

So how do they get caught? It is extremely simple and somewhat different than the way the insects become captured. Let us first explain the difference. Insects fall victim to the Nepenthes pitcher plants for two main reasons; because of the plant’s colour & because of the plant’s nectar. Nepenthes pitcher plants produce colorful leaves and traps that capture the attention of hungry bugs & insects passing by. The leaves resemble yummy fruits and the nectar the plant releases around the traps lip seals the deal and tricks the insects into thinking it’s a free meal without a price tag. Almost like a person drinking beer or vodka, drink too much and it is over. The lip of the traps are also slippery, designed so prey could fall inward to the trap when they have become groggy and can no longer hold themselves on the slippery surface. Once at the bottom, they drown in the pool of digestive juices and then the plant will start the breakdown the insects’ soft parts and suck it up its glands.

The capture process is comparable to anole lizards; The lizards are attracted to the smell of the delicious nectar and begin licking it off the lip but that doesn’t seal the deal as quickly as it does with insects. In the state of Florida, it can be very hot during the summer months & it is not always easy for lizards to find drinking water. They become tempted to push their luck by climbing in the pitchers and make their way to the digestive juices to drink; after drinking from a pool of drowned and digested insects is better than not drinking in any way. Some lizards hide inside pitcher plants from other predators or find insects still alive inside a pitcher trap and try to catch and consume it. The issue about this is that the lizard will more and probably fall in the liquid and if he’s lucky, he can swim and climb his way out but when he can not get out and becomes exhausted from the failed attempts of escape, then he’ll drown and become dinner. This happens far too often for pitcher plant growers in Florida. Some pitchers can catch more lizards than they could digest, resulting in the trap rotting away.

Insect meals can take about 3 weeks to digest completely while anole lizards can take up to 2-3 months before leaving nothing but lizard bones at the bottom of a pitcher plant snare. A pitcher plant that eats nothing but reptiles can grow into a really large plant and whether the plant is getting the humidity, heat & lighting it requires, it can develop some very large traps (depending on the species).

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