How does the Venus Flytrap work?

Venus flytraps are some of the most fascinating carnivorous plants in existence. They have a unique way to trap their prey, and they can even smell you coming from half a mile away (or so says one scientist). But how do these creatures catch their victims?

To learn about this amazing plant’s hunting strategy we spoke with botanist Steven R. Cook, who is currently studying venus flytraps at Wake Forest University. Here’s everything you need to know about how the Venus flytrap kills its prey…

how a venus fly trap catches flies

Venus fly traps are carnivorous plants that live throughout the United States. They grow in bogs and marshes and collect nutrients from both the atmosphere and the ground. The plant uses its trap leaves to trap small animals and then slowly digests them. This makes up the plants nutritional needs because it gets much of its nutrition from what it eats. People love this type of plant because they think it looks beautiful and unusual.

Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants native to North America. They grow in moist soil near water sources. Their leaves contain tiny hairs called “trigger” or “sensitive” hairs. These hairs detect movement and vibration. When something moves over the surface of the leaf, the hair bends slightly. This causes the lobe of the leaf to fold inward and clamp down around its prey. A Venus flytrap closes within 1/10th of a second after detecting motion.

The trap constricts tightly around the insect and secretes digestive fluids, much like those in your stomach. They dissolve the soft, inner parts of the insect, but do not destroy the tougher, external shell called the exoskeleton. After digestion, the remains of the insect are left behind inside the chamber, while the liquid is absorbed back into the body of the trap. This happens over several weeks depending on the size of the insect, temperatures, the age of the trap, and how many times the trap has been used.