It must be tough being a plant, worrying that some bird or bug will munch on you. But some plants fight back: the pitcher plant eats bugs! How does it do this? The plant has tube shapes filled with a sweet, sticky liquid. Ants and flies that dare to come close slide down the leaves into the pool, and can’t get out. Eventually they mix into the liquid and disappear; that’s how the plant “eats” the vitamins. So our friend James H. asked, how many bugs can a pitcher plant eat in a year? (and sent a photo of his own pet plants!) We haven’t found exact numbers, but one scientist figured out that some plants can catch up to 20 bugs at a time!
Wee ones: If a plant eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner just like you do, how many meals in a day is that?
Little kids: If the plant eats an ant, then a fly, then an ant, then a fly…what’s the 8th bug it eats? Bonus: How many flies has it eaten by then?
Big kids: If a pitcher plant eats 20 bugs in each meal 3 times a day, how many does it eat in a day? Bonus: If it kept that up every day, about how many would it eat in a year? You can round to 400 days to make a quick guess! (Hint if needed: How many would it eat in 4 days…then see how many in 40 days…then try 400.)
Wee ones: 3 meals.
Little kids: A fly. Bonus: 4 flies.
Big kids: 60 bugs a day. Bonus: 24,000 bugs!