There was a story last year from a Botanical Garden in Lyons, France of a mouse being eaten by a carnivorous plant. It was a big deal because this was supposed to be the first documented case of a mammal being devoured by a plant.
Alright, the story is cute. Visitors should “watch their fingers” says this reporter, and I probably would have made the same joke. However, I’m calling ‘hoax’ on this one. I know that the plants produce odors that attract flying insects, but what perceived benefit would a mouse have to climb up the outside of an awkwardly shaped pitcher plant and dive in?
Nope, I think some lowly and bored employee who had removed the mouse from a trap, or possibly found the carcass discarded by some predatory house pet, picked up the tiny rodent by the tail and dropped it in the Nepenthes’ mouth just to see what would happen. Well, his boss, the botanist, comes along behind him and makes this “discovery,” and things have gone way too far for anyone to fess up.
That’s what I believe happened. Little shop of horrors was cute, but it is fiction. I’m not saying that I believe this is is unheard of in nature, I just don’t believe this particular story.
Carnivorous plants are definitely fun and interesting. In a recent post over at Wayside Gardens Voices, John Durst mentions indoor bog gardens in terrariums. This would be a perfect place to grow some carnivorous plants, which are often sold in your local grocery store’s floral department as novelty items. While neither Park Seed nor Wayside Gardens sell any carnivorous plants, Wayside does have a few bog-loving plants that would complement such a collection. Try the Juncus Unicorn or any of our Iris or Daylilies. These will be too big for a terrarium, but pitcher plants are big enough that you could grow your carnivorous garden outdoors.