MANILA – Scientists have discovered a rat-eating plant in the Philippines, and named it after Sir David Attenborough!
A team of botanists led by Stewart McPherson discovered the plant during an expedition to Mount Victoria in the Philippines. The giant pitcher plant is so large that it can catch rats in it’s pouch and dissolve them with enzymes. It is a similar process to that of the venus fly trap, except on a bigger scale.
The botanists also found giant centipedes and 4-inch long spiders in the pouches of the plants.
The discovery was part of a long-term expedition to identify all known pitcher plants. The team began hunting for the rat-eating plant on Mount Victoria after missionaries reported seeing the plants in 2000.
McPherson and his team also found another large pitcher plant last seen more than 100 years ago, and a sundew, which secretes sticky droplets from tentacles to kill insects.
Said McPherson, “It’s one of the largest, there’s only one or two that are any bigger. It is big enough to catch rats. That one of the largest carnivorous plants had remained undiscovered until the 21st century is remarkable.”
They decided to name the plant after famous TV nature specialist Sir David Attenborough. This is nothing new for Attenborough, who already has a prehistoric lizard, a parasitic wasp, a spiny anteater and a fossilised fish named after him.