NaturePlants

How do Venus’ Flytraps work?

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Have you ever learned about how plants make food? Plants use water, carbon dioxide from the air, sunlight, and nutrients from the ground to make their own food. It's pretty neat!

But if you've ever seen or heard of a plant called Venus' Flytrap, you might already know that it uses something else in addition to water, sun, and air to feed itself: Venus' Flytraps eat bugs!

Because Venus' Flytraps live in soil that doesn't have a lot of nutrients, they're built to get their nutrients instead by eating insects. At the end of their stalks, Venus' Flytraps have nectar-filled traps that attract bugs with their sweet smell. When an insect lands to get the nectar and it touches one of a Venus' Flytraps' special sensory hairs, the plant snaps its opening shut to catch the bug inside! The plant then slowly digests the bug for several days, and then opens up wide for another! Yum!

Exploration

Bug catchers!What other things in nature have you learned about which set up a special way to trap bugs?One great answer is the spider and its web! Spider webs are so light and thin that many bugs don't see them and accidentally fly right in! Since the webs are sticky, the spider is able to trap the bug!Can you think of any other animals or plants who set up traps to catch bugs??

Further Information

Venus' Flytraps aren't the only "insectivorous" or "carnivorous" plants; there are about 500 other species who also trap and eat small prey!