Image: close up of a Venus Fly Trap

Secrets to Surviving: Lessons from Carnivorous Plants

From rodent toilets to fly catchers and bat bedrooms to pitchers of doom, carnivorous plants around the world are living some seriously unique lives. Dive in with us to discover an amazing bit of our world that you probably don’t see every day!

By evolving in places where they couldn’t get the nutrients they needed, these plants decided to start… eating. Dip your toes into this eerie world to find a strange yet delightful surprise that may just have you pondering your unique approach to life!

Image: close up of a Venus Fly Trap
Venus Flytrap
Source: Pixabay

Don’t slip!

Over 600 species of carnivorous plants have been found around the world! But they aren’t all related. It’s been estimated that their taste for the living evolved independently from each other about 6 times across the families and orders of the plants. 1 Meaning, most of the carnivorous plants we see had found this innovative way of living on their own.

Image: Bunch of pitcher plants
Pitcher Plants
Source: Pixabay

Some, like the popular venus flytrap (pictured above), close in on their dinners by trapping them between their moving “jaws.” Others, like the pitcher plant, catch their prey by luring them over their pouch-like structure. The rim is a bit slippery, so while the insect is attempting to get at the sugary substances the plant provides, they usually end up slipping and falling into the plant’s deep pitchers, unable to make their way out.

But sometimes… these plants have other, sneakier, and (if you can believe it) even more interesting tactics to get the nutrition they need. Check out this video from Terra Mater to learn why a bat would choose to take a nap in one of these carnivores, and why this pitcher plant is shaped like a toilet for a shrew!

Via: Terra Mater 2

Shoutout to Terra Mater for bringing us all such a fantastic video! To find more work from them, head over to their YouTube channel.

Want to bring a little of this carnivorous action into your own home? Get yourself an all-natural fly catcher and enjoy this remarkable wonder of nature every day! Here’s a great guide I’ve found that talks about carnivorous plants that are good for the home and how to care for them.

Carnivorous plants remind us that there’s more than one route we can take to succeed in life!

These green carnivores evolved their weird and wonderful traits because of the adversity of their surroundings. When the soil around them wasn’t rich enough to provide what they needed, evolution took them in a new direction. Perhaps we can look at this as a metaphor for the ways we humans evolve over the course of our lives. Sometimes, we need to take a path less traveled by our peers in order to flourish! Are the obstacles we face truly barriers? Or have we just not applied enough imagination to these points to find the solution?

Taking a moment to appreciate the unique ways that other creatures and plants live in this world is a great opportunity to reflect on your own life. The benefits of going your own way and doing your thing, whatever that may be, become clearer and clearer. We don’t all need to be in the same group—sometimes it’s more helpful to step out and explore other possibilities!

Just like these funky folks did:

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As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities! You never know how learning about a carnivorous plant may benefit your personal life.

  • Sam

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Notes:

  1. “Carnivorous Plant | Botany | Britannica.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2021, www.britannica.com/plant/carnivorous-plant. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.
  2. Mater, Terra. “Why This Bat Chooses to Snooze in a Meat-Eating Home.” YouTube, 5 Mar. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1vpBNuGNS4. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.
Published: May 17, 2021

Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

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