|Carnivores aren’t just animals. They can be plants, too. Plants, however, don’t chase after their prey and take them down. They have other methods to capture their prey and eat them.
What sets carnivorous plants apart is that they occur in habitats where it would be almost impossible for non-carnivorous plants to survive. They are carnivorous as a result of the region they live in. The soil in their habitats is usually poor and so they get the nutrients they need from their prey.1&2
The type of prey these plants go after are flies, beetles, gnats, fish, and even small reptiles or mammals.1&2 They are able to capture these animals by tricking them. They can either camouflage themselves so their prey accidentally finds themselves trapped or by making themselves look appealing –as though they’re a water source, for example.2
How they capture their prey varies. For example:2
Snap – when their prey lands, they’ll snap closed on them. A Venus Flytrap is a perfect example of this.
Snare – when prey enters the plant, small hairs ensure they can only go forward, and can’t get back out again.
Pitfalls – the plant usually has nectar on the edge of it. When prey lands on it, they slip and fall into the plant. Pitcher plants are an example of this.
Suction – usually this occurs in aquatic carnivorous plants. When prey approaches the entrance of the plant, a valve opens and creates suction, so they get sucked into the plant.
Adhesive – when prey lands on the plant, they get stuck on what they thought looked like nectar or water.
When the prey is captured, these plants release enzymes or use symbiotic bacteria to break them down.2 There are over 600 species of carnivorous plants in the world.3
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