Chowing down on a vertebrate is incredibly dangerous for the plant, says Barry Rice, conservation director for the International Carnivorous Plant Society and author of Growing Carnivorous Plants. It takes a long time to digest meat, so the meal could rot prematurely, killing the trap.
That's not to say that a giant meat-eating plant wouldn't have a taste for humans. While recovering from a case of athlete's foot, Rice fed infected skin to Venus flytraps to see if they would eat it. A week later, he was astonished (and a bit appalled) to find barely a trace of his skin remaining in the traps. Healthy skin and internal organs would probably meet the same end, Rice predicts. "I'm still fond of my fingers, though," he says, "so I'm not taking the experiment to the next level."
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.