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Ratz fatz aus die Maus !

Hartmeyer, I. & Hartmeyer, S. (2007)  DAS TAUBLATT (GFP) 2007/2: 31-36

English abstract:

Our greenhouse grown Nepenthes truncata caught an adult mouse. It tried obviously to nibble from the sugar containing secretion of the nectar glands. The hard and slippery peristome became its undoing, when it tried to reach the nectar rich lower lid surface. It plummet into the pitcher just like a fly or beetle. The undamaged pitcher is again evidence, that even caught rodents do not bite themselves through the pitcher wall, but drown in the digestion fluid.

Will the plant be strong enough to digest the mouse? Or will the decaying prey also destroy the pitcher by rotting? We were willing to make the experiment, so the mouse remained inside the pitcher. However, due to the fact that our greenhouse is build directly beside our sleeping-room the test needed to be stopped at the fifth day because it was impossible to keep the very special stink out of the house. Interestingly the pitcher was not harmed by the massive decay, and even on the last day the pitcher fluid was clear and the stink stopped as soon as the mouse was removed. The plant did not loose all of its prey because numerous big flies have been caught additional, attracted by the "beautiful smell". I am sure that the plant will grow nicely now, because the next developed pitcher is even eight cm larger! A resulting discussion on the internet showed that the capture of small rodents by big Nepenthes is apparently more widespread than expected before.

More pictures can be found with the German report.


Remark (September 2008):
Will the plant be tough enough to digest the mouse? Or will the decaying prey also destroy the pitcher by rotting? Meanwhile the plant caught four adult mice within 15 months. With mouse 3 and mouse 4 we recorded the digestion completely and published our observations in the journal Das Taublatt (GFP e.V.). Below you find also a link to read the English translation.