venus flytrap
photograph by Jared Lloyd

Don’t be deceived like the spider and the ant: This plant is a predator, designed to kill. Drawn by glistening nectar glands, an insect touches off trigger-like plant hairs rooted in a hinged leaf blade. There’s no escape: Electricity pulses through the plant at four inches per second. Special cells react, tripping the leaf trap that can snap shut in less than one-tenth of a second. If that weren’t horrifying enough, the Venus flytrap then begins its denouement: Digesting its prey with specialized enzymes. Stewed bug, served cold. Yummy.

Venus flytraps love the Carolinas: The carnivorous plants grow natively in the coastal bogs around Wilmington.

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Nickens is editor-at-large of Field & Stream and the author of The Total Outdoorsman Manual. His articles also appear in Smithsonian and Audubon magazines.