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Venus Fly Traps And Other Carnivorous Plants

Updated on May 4, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

Venus Fly Traps: Animal Or Plant?

You've seen them in horror movies. Huge Venus Fly Traps and other assorted carnivorous plants that attack animals and man and eat them alive.

It's true. They do exist. Although, they're not really that big and they don't eat animals and man. But they are both creepy and fun to watch!

Venus Fly Traps are native to the boggy areas of South Carolina and they really do eat live insects. They're a great way to introduce your child to gardening because they're such an interesting plant. With the proper care and feeding you can keep them alive for years.


Fly Traps Mouse Pad by mlane53

I have seen these before as my mother has one and it turned bright red and full of flies, Did not know there were so many varieties

— Arthur

Characteristics of a Carnivorous Plant

But what exactly is a carnivorous plant? Is it even really a plant?

A carnivore is an animal that eats other animals. Human beings who eat meat are carnivores. Animals like cows or horses, that eat grains or plants like oats, grasses and wheat, are considered herbivores. Because Venus Fly Traps and other similar plants eat live insects and bugs, they're considered carnivorous.

Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants, Cobra Plants and others really are plants, even though they eat living things. Namely bugs and insects. But they're classified as plants for a number of reasons:

Ancient Greeks, when first classifying plants and animals, said that anything that moved around to get it's food was an animal. If it stayed in one place and was unable to move, then it was a plant.

A Wild Florida Sundew

See the glistening drops on this plant. Those are sticky to capture insects.
See the glistening drops on this plant. Those are sticky to capture insects. | Source

Carnivorous Plants also have cell walls, which animals do not. Like other plants, carnivorous plants also synthesize their food, converting nutrients from the sun, water, and soil into fuel. And this is the main reason that Venus Fly Traps and their buddies are all considered plants.

Ancient Greeks, when first classifying plants and animals, said that anything that moved around to get its food was an animal. If it stayed in one place and was unable to move, then it was a plant.

Carnivorous Plants also have cell walls, which animals do not. Like other plants, carnivorous plants also synthesize their food, converting nutrients from the sun, water, and soil into fuel. And this is the main reason that Venus Fly Traps and their buddies are all considered plants.

Carnivorous Orchids

The insects fall into the pouch where a liquid entices them, then they are stuck.
The insects fall into the pouch where a liquid entices them, then they are stuck. | Source

Caring For Your Venus Fly Trap

Soil: It's important to remember that Venus Fly Traps are found in the boggy areas of South Carolina. They're used to poor soil conditions so don't worry about special potting soils and fertilizers and plant food. That's why Venus Fly Traps eat what they eat. Because they don't get their nutrients from the soil.

Water: Keep the moss or soil wet at all times. Again, Venus Fly Traps are used to bog conditions which means wet, poor-quality soil.

Sunlight: Again, remember its native environment. In the wild, Venus Fly Traps grow outside, in the sun. If you're growing yours inside your house make sure it gets plenty of sunlight.

Appetite: Your plant will eat approximately every 7 to 10 days. When the 'mouth' is open, that means it's hungry. When you place a fly or ant on the petal it closes and stays closed until the plant is ready to eat again. It takes quite a bit of energy for the plant to close over an insect. Please don't tease your plant by poking it with a pencil to see how fast it snaps closed!

Diet: Feed your Venus Fly Trap live flies, grasshoppers or ants. Don't feed it worms because worms have too much calcium in their bodies. Never, ever feed your plant meat. Raw meat is not the same as an insect and it will kill your plant!

Trimming: Treat your Venus Fly Trap as you would any other plant. When you see leaves dry up and dry simply trim them away.

Have You Grown Carnivorous Plants - such as a venus flytrap

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Dente Venus Fly Trap Plant - Potted Live Plant

This is a much healthier plant than those poor, hungry little Venus Fly Traps you see at the end of the checkout at the Big Box stores.

It's a 2-inch pot and it comes to you straight from the nursery where it's been raised.

CARNIVOROUS Dionea muscipula Venus Fly Trap Red Dragon 'Akai Ryu' - Live Plant
CARNIVOROUS Dionea muscipula Venus Fly Trap Red Dragon 'Akai Ryu' - Live Plant

Needs plenty of sunlight and water. Rain water is best, or distilled water. But avoid tap water because of the chemicals.

When it's time to replant, use spaghnum moss, not those fancy potting soils.

 

What Interests You about carnivorous plants?

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    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 

      5 years ago

      They're just so cool! I love the way they look, their strange ways of attracting prey and of course the fact that they EAT living things.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @GregoryMoore: Great way to encourage a kid in gardening.

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 

      5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      We were in Disney over Thanksgiving and my son saw these for sale at Epcot. He has been asking for one every since. I think one of these will end up under the Christmas Tree this year!

    • spider11235813 profile image

      spider11235813 

      5 years ago

      I wish there were a desert species of carnivorous plant. Perhaps in a few thousand years...

    • justmelucy profile image

      justmelucy 

      5 years ago

      I have had them and loved them. I still have some of Venus Fly Trap Postage Stamps issued back in 2001. I had to laugh at your comment to not feed them red meat because I know fools that have done that. Great Lens. Super Photos.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      5 years ago from France

      Mean looking little sucker, but anything that wages war on flies is good by me. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      love to own one of these, and care for them

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 

      5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I once had a couple of Venus fly traps. Whenever they would close up on a fly the leaf that closed up would digest the fly and then it would dry up and die. I did not know that it was supposed to open up and feed again. Did I just have weird plants or what? :-)

      TonyB

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I've always been intrigued by the Venus Fly Trap. Great lens!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 

      6 years ago

      I wonder how many mosquitoes it might eat? Sounds like I should try a couple of these.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Maybe that's why the kid's Venus fly trap died...we weren't feeding it worms.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens about Venus fly traps. I was really fascinated by them as a child.

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 

      6 years ago

      thinking about "the Little Shop of Horrors" .. great lens

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      I would just love to have a plant that I must feed ground beef! =D

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      A very fun and informative introduction venus fly traps and other carnivorous plants. I think we've all been fascinated b venus fly trap and many are guilty of just wearing the plant out. I like how you tell not to "tease" it by trying to get it to close without providing a fly or other insect and using up its energy. Then we have killed the poor dears off by giving it the wrong kind of food and have probably even fertilized them not knowing that they don't get any nutritional value from the soil. I can see the smiles on the faces on venus fly traps everywhere, now that they are understood. Your Dente Venus Fly Trap plant

      potted live plant does look very healthy and happy...Bon apetit!

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