Carnivorous plants have long fascinated man since he first realized what these plants were actually doing. Here are a group of plants that have turned the tables on some of the higher life forms. Instead of the insects preying on the plants the plants have evolved to prey upon the insects. Nearly all have evolved to survive in nutrient poor soil deriving their nutrition from the prey they capture. Their method of attracting and capturing prey is as varied as the plant species themselves.
The pitcher plants are typical pit fall traps. The traps are a modified leaf structure in the form of a vase or pitcher which holds water and digestive juices. The rim is a slippery surface where some of these plants secrete a sweet smelling aroma to attract their victims. When the insects come to investigate they slip and fall into their watery grave where they are digested. The Sarracenia have evolved sharp downward pointing hairs within their pitchers which effectively prevents their victims from climbing out. Even many spiders, which are excellent climbers, are not spared. The Nepenthes prevent their victim's escape with slippery walls within the pitcher. Some of the Nepenthes form pitchers large enough to capture small mice although these are not their preferred prey.
The most fascinating of the carnivorous plants is without a doubt the Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula). In these plants the leaf end has evolved into a bear trap like structure which snaps closed over its prey which it then slowly digests.
Browse through the images and offerings below and see if you don't find them fascinating subjects for your terrarium collection. Keep in mind however that insects are not necessarily their only prey! Click on an image to see a close up.