Sunday, October 01, 2006

La Nepenthes et la souris

This is awesome. Apparently a greenhouse in Lyon, France, attracted by "une odeur nauseabonde," checked one of their N. truncata pitchers and discovered a partially digested mouse inside. Ewww! (DO NOT CLICK on that link if you have a weak stomach. There are pictures.) I am grateful to Chris, creator of Linky (and a wiki!) for alerting me to this news.

They think the mouse was trying to dig dead bugs out of the pitcher, fell in, was unable to climb out and fell victim to the plant's digestive enzymes. Someone over at Carnivorous Plants UK reports that, after photographing the mouse, the enterprising gardeners replaced it in the pitcher to see how much more digested it will get. To avoid disrupting the process, they will weigh the pitcher every day. My French is not good enough to watch the video and check this for myself. The greenhouse appears to be at a place called The Park of the Golden Head.

Why is this a big deal? Nobody has ever documented a carnivorous plant eating a mammal. There are stories of Nepenthes chowing on mice, rats and even monkeys, but no scientific proof. I hope this news will result in more carnivorous plants on film.

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