This scientist fed his own flesh to a Venus Flytrap

Originally published at: This scientist fed his own flesh to a Venus Flytrap | Boing Boing


It’s been done.


Venus fly traps spend up to a week digesting their prey. Even before you get to enzymes, I am not convinced skin would be relatively unaffected from a full week in water.


Actually, this sounds like a perfectly good scientific experiment.


More than once!


I’m sorry, but a bit of skin that came off more or less on its own doesn’t count as “human flesh”.


Was I ever wrong! The skin chunks were almost completely digested. Worse, what was left no longer had much cohesion, but was gooey and slimy …

huzzah for scientific curiosity! (and we learn most when our expectations are proven false)

Digestive Secretion of Dionaea muscipula (Venus’s Flytrap)… Phosphatase, proteinase, nuclease and amylase have been observed in the secretion. The enzymes have acid pH optima and the proteinase has a molecular weight of about 40,000 … source

so with 'proteinase’s on-board and that bits of dead skin is mostly keratin (a fibrous protein) i guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that venus flytraps could break them down. but again, let’s hear it for experimentation!

so… the next scientific investigation(/doctoral thesis) might well be: How does the venus flytrap avoid digesting its own flytrap parts? (“ain’t got no Cellulase?”)


Also, how much nutrition can dead skin have compared to, you know, live flesh? Is this the flytrap equivalent of a celery diet?


Previously on Boing Boing:



We got a Venus flytrap when we were kids, and tried putting a piece of salami in it.

Probably wasn’t a good idea to put cured meat or something salty in it. It died.

1 Like

I was thinking the same thing. I have experience growing Flytraps and other carnivorous plants. They’re used to digesting insects, though the chitinous parts often get discarded. Though a single piece of salami probably wasn’t the reason the plant died (they’re notoriously finicky and used to specialized conditions) it would have been enough to kill the trap.

When I was a kid Venus Flytraps for sale were advertised in the back of comic books with instructions like “Feed it raw hamburger!” Don’t. Also those plants were likely poached from wild areas, which is terrible for a lot of reasons.


I don’t think the experiment will be complete until the results are compared with other stuff coming off of or out of the human body–hair, fingernails, boogers, jizz, etc.

1 Like

I used to live in lowcountry SC, and I remember a small wooded area in between some fencing in our suburban development, where the drainage ditches ran. Used to go there to find snakes, frogs and all sorts. In one area it was sort of marshy, and venus flytraps grew, I was only interested in animals at that time, so I didn’t really care for years. I now wonder how much habitat was destroyed just by that development :frowning:


How about Sea-Monkeys?

1 Like

They’re probably worse


I grew up in NC, although in the Piedmont region so I never saw Venus Flytraps in the wild. I detest poachers and developers who destroy habitats like that.


Came here for this. Was frankly surprised that none of the plants in the experiment were named “Audrey 2”.


And now they want more. Well done.

does that not want you to throw up…

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.