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37 MIN READ TIME

PLANTS THAT EAT ANIMALS

There’s no sign that giant man-eating (or cow-eating!) plants exist anywhere in nature. But for well over a century, plant-monster hoaxes, science fiction, and horror stories have been inspired by the amazing fact that some plants actually do consume small animals.

Several groups of plants have independently evolved this same gruesome strategy to survive in environments where important nutrients are scarce—they extract those nutrients from the bodies of animals they capture and kill. Some of these true-life carnivorous plants use sweet smells or flower-like shapes to lure prey into their traps. These tricks allow stationary plants to get nutrients delivered right to them—a bit like ordering pizza and then eating the delivery person.

Seen But Not Understood

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