Human Flower Project
Rat Traps of Mount Victoria
This carnivorous plant from the Philippines tugs the old chain of being in a surprising direction.
A rat lured into the “slipper like mouth” of a pitcher plant
Photo: Stewart McPherson
Nepenthes attenboroughii, a pitcher plant of Palawan Island in the Philippines, has the scale and gastric juices to digest rats. After hearing of such large carnivorous plants from “Christian missionaries,” a team of botanists began the search. They came upon this mouse-trap, with pitchers big enough to hold 1.5 litres, in the region of Mount Victoria two years ago and recently published their findings in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.
Nepenthes attenboroughii, carnivore of Palawan Island, The Phillippines
Photo: Dr. Alastair Robinson, via wiki
“The (plant’s) victim drowns in the pitcher, and acids and enzymes in the fluid within the trap break down the remains of the prey,” Stewart McPherson explained, adding “only the bones remain.”
How does that work out? Is Nepenthes attenboroughii a prolific belcher, too?
The botanists chose to name their discovery after naturalist and BBC broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
Sir David, 83, said: “I was contacted by the team shortly after the discovery and they asked if they could name it after me. I was delighted....”
Quite a grisly honor, even for a knight.