“YES, WE’VE GOT A VENUS FLYTRAP!”

To belay the 1500 E-mails, text messages, and smoke signals that any mention of carnivorous plants in the news brings on, the science fiction site io9 did a very good job of high-grading Dr. Barry Rice’s discussion on whether venus flytraps can digest human flesh. The io9 article doesn’t include anything that Dr. Rice’s discussion didn’t already have, but as can be expected, everyone will link to the copy instead of the original. And so it goes, and I take it as strange confirmation that someone at io9 is reading this blog.

No, the interesting part should be reading the comments on the io9 article, and the fact that the commenters didn’t take advantage of a great resource on raising carnivores. Instead of general kvetching about how “I had a Venus flytrap, but it died,” they could have been poking around on sarracenia.com and possibly learning why their flytraps died. (Or, judging by one comment, learning that flytraps go dormant during the winter, so that presumably dead flytrap is just waiting for the spring.) That, right there, explains why so many of us are so passionate about carnivores: once we learned the basic secrets, all we really want to do is share what we’ve learned so that the flytrap lament doesn’t have to repeat over and over.

In any case, I think it’s time to update that old “Gothic Beauty” column on the (now) eight surefire ways to kill your Venus flytrap, on the idea that avoiding all of those tips will greatly improve the odds of its survival. Watch this space.

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