What Are Carnivorous Plants?

Ashley | 11 - 24 - 2021
What Are Carnivorous Plants

What are carnivorous plants? Do you know how these plants hunt or if they are capable of attacking humans? Find out how to identify and tame them into houseplants now. 

What Are Carnivorous Plants?

Humans, who consume only plant-based food are considered vegetarians but are plants really vegetarians? The nutrition requirements of wild plants and trees are met by decomposition. Soil decomposes dead matter, converts it to nutrients to feed the plants. Thus, technically all plants are carnivorous in nature. 

In reality, plants that are capable of hunting their food and digesting it without any help from decomposed soil are known as carnivorous plants. 

Which Among Following Is a Carnivorous Plant?
  • A. Green Apple
  • B. Custard Apple
  • C. Pineapple
  • D. All of the Above

Where Are Carnivorous Plants Found?

Carnivorous plants grow in bogs in clusters. Bogs are low in nutrition and highly acidic. The quality of the soil creates the need for excess nutrition apart from photosynthesis. Thus, carnivorous plants emerged. They can be found across the world except in Antarctica. 

Carnivorous plants can be grown at home with other plants. Gardeners have been successful in replicating their natural habitats. Venus flytraps are the most common house plants.

How Many Carnivorous Plants Are There?

There are around 630 known species of carnivorous plants in the wild. Most of these plants like sundews and pineapples are edible carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants receive very little energy from photosynthesis. Therefore, small plants rely on insects while the larger ones on small animals, birds, and fish for their nutritional needs. They usually hunt through a trap and kill method. They have special mechanisms that help them differentiate between prey and pollinators.

The flowers are usually situated high above with sweet smells attracting pollinators while the traps are low on the ground with a different odor to attract crawling food.

What Do Carnivorous Plants Eat? 

Can carnivorous plants eat humans? From the smallest to the largest, all carnivorous plants can digest human flesh but they are incapable of attacking us. Meaning, you can’t get attacked or killed by a carnivorous plant but they can chew off your fingers if you were to stick them in. 

Nepenthes Rajah, a six-meter-long plant, is the largest carnivorous plant known to man. They are an endangered species that rely on ants and mammals for food.

Types of Carnivorous Plants

Drosera, Dionaea muscipula, Nepenthes, and Utricularia are the common types of carnivorous plants. They can also be classified based on five special anatomical adaptations that help them survive.


The basic pitfall trap is a method where the plants lay rolled leaves full of digestive enzymes. These leaves close in on the prey once it steps inside.


These plants hunt the way frogs do. They may either actively stick out a tongue to pull the prey towards their digestive system or have other leaves close around the tongue after the capture.

Snap Traps

These are similar to mouse traps. The leaves snap immediately after they come in contact with prey to digest them wholly. 

Bladder Traps

These plants produce flowers or sweet-smelling stems around open bladders to attract their prey. They use intense suction to suck the prey into their digestive system once the target is at close range.

Lobster Traps

The Venus flytrap is a typical example of this method. They have inward-pointing teeth like hair that push the insects towards their digestive core.


Quiz time!!

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