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Plant that eats mice and monkey?

The tropical Pitcher plant is a vine-like carnivorous plant which grows pitchers or jugs that hang from the plant.  The pitcher of the American pitcher plant usually grows from the ground up straight from the base of the plant.

The insect or other prey is lured to the cups or pitchers by the sweet nectar inside the cups.  As it tries to drink nectar from the lip of the cup, it slides inside the cup into the liquid.

The sides of the Pitcher Plant are very slippery, so the insect is trapped.  There are small hairs pointing down into the base of the cup preventing the insect's escape by poking the insect in its face.  The base of the cup is filled with rainwater which wets the insect's wings, making it hard to escape.  After struggling for several minutes, a liquid acid drowns the insect and digests it.  In about 2-3 hours there is nothing left but the hard skin and bones.  The soft parts are used for nutrition, and the hard parts stay at the bottom.

They eat mostly insects, but sometimes small birds, frogs, and rodents are known to fall into the Pitcher Plant.  Small monkeys have even fallen into the biggest traps, called monkey cups.  The larger animals can threaten the life of the plant because of the decomposition of such a large amount of organic matter. Please keep in mind, pitcher plants prefer insects!

There are many varieties of pitcher plants.  Like other carnivorous plants, because they fertilize themselves by catching their own food, they can grow in poor conditions.  They are found in tropical areas of South America, many different areas of North America, and coastal areas of Australia.  



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