Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rat Eating Plant Discovered In Australian Jungle

An Australian pitcher plant - more images at Gecko's

Australia has the most kick-arse natural predators in the world. Boat-attacking sharks, tourist-eating crocodiles, flesh-shredding Tasmanian devils, eucalyptus-crazed koalas and funnel-web spiders and brown snakes that can kill you with one bite.

Now we can add the rat-eating plant.

Really :

A rare new species of plant that eats small rats has been discovered at the tip of Cape York.

Pitcher plants, otherwise known as flesh-eating plants, grow throughout Cape York but now a new, larger species that grows like a vine has been discovered.

The new species has been called "Tenax".

James Cook University ecologist Charles Clarke and a colleague found the new species at a swamp near the Jardine River, but exactly where is a secret.

"They are quite vulnerable," he said.

"They are only found in a few small areas and if we broadcast the location then there are people out there who would take advantage of that.

"There's a lot of interest in pitcher plants from Australia, even from people outside of Australia.

"And while people often associate these things with New Guinea or Borneo or Sumatra, the fact that there's more species here is actually very exciting."
Very exciting. Every backyard should have one.

Can they also devour small cats?