Predator plants: how N.W.T.’s carnivorous vegetation snare their prey

Suffocated in slime. Drowned and dissolved in a deep cauldron of death. Snatched-up, sealed-in, and soupified in a sepulchral sack of enzymatic slurry.

The above may seem like an excerpt from a medieval executioner’s to-do list (one with a propensity for alliteration), but it’s actually a description of how some carnivorous plant species here in the N.W.T. trap and consume prey.

While the outlaw Albert Johnson may have earned the title The Mad Trapper for his legendary N.W.T.-to-Yukon run from the law in 1932, he certainly isn’t the only mad trapper the N.W.T. has produced. In fact, in my view, our carnivorous plants easily out-mad Mr. Johnson.

After all, gun fights seem downright pedestrian when compared to the enzyme-laced death tentacles of a sundew plant.

Carnivorous plants are animal eaters. They capture and consume prey such as insects, spiders and crustaceans as a way of securing nutrients unavailable from the nutrient-poor soil or water in which they grow.

There are four groups of carnivorous plants in the N.W.T.: pitcher plants, sundews, bladderworts, and butterworts.

Of these, the bladderworts stand out in terms of trapping ingenuity and ferocity. They are truly the maddest trappers of them all!

Bladderworts are a genus of carnivorous plants that live in freshwater or saturated soil. The N.W.T. has four species of bladderworts; all inhabit shallow ponds with slow moving water.


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