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If you have ever seen a Venus flytrap catch a bug, you know what happens. The plant traps its prey and slowly eats it. Now you are probably wondering, is it safe to have this plant in my house? What if it bites me? Could this plant be dangerous and harm people or my pet? This is the right place to be as we will answer these questions.
Venus flytraps pose no danger to humans or pets. It is impossible for your finger to get stuck in a Venus flytrap because their traps are too small. Its traps cannot hurt you or draw blood.
Are Venus Flytraps Safe For Humans and Pets?
Because of the way Venus flytraps consume their prey, it is understandable why potential buyers are concerned. If the plant can do that to bugs, can it do the same thing to people, including children and pets? The answer is no, it cannot.
Venus flytraps are safe for humans and pets because they are too small to cause any injury. People and animals are more likely to harm the plant than the other way around.
A lot of the fear concerning Venus flytraps will disappear when you consider its size. Most of these plants grow up to 6 inches tall, and each trap is less than 2 inches. The average trap is an inch long, less than a third the size of your forefinger.
These traps are designed to catch insects, not humans. While too small for humans, they are the right size for spiders, flies, ants and other bugs.
Venus flytraps are not toxic either, so if your pet cat eats it, the worst that can happen is indigestion. It will not result in death.
Their small size means Venus flytraps do not pose any risk to you or animals. The risk actually comes from people or animals that poke the plant around.
Venus flytraps are delicate and repeated poking of the traps could weaken it. Feeding it human food can also cause damage so you have to avoid that as well.
If you have dogs or cats at home, place your Venus flytraps somewhere they cannot be reached. Or you can buy some pet toys to keep them occupied.
The bottom line is you can buy Venus flytraps and not worry about getting hurt or poisoned. These plants only eat small insects. In spite of what you see in films, they do not grow to giant sizes capable of eating humans.
Do Venus Flytraps Eat Human Flesh?
This is another common question, and no doubt caused by sci-fi films that show Venus flytrap-like plants eating people. Can this happen in real life?
Experiments have shown that Venus flytraps will eat dead human skin, but only in tiny amounts. However, Venus flytraps are too small to eat a person.
An experiment was done which shows that Venus flytraps can digest dead human skin. So yes they can eat flesh. But the test only gave the plant a very small amount, understandable given its small traps.
But eating dead human skin is different from eating a human being. This is just physically impossible because Venus flytraps are too small. The only way this can happen is if you shrunk to the size of an ant or the Venus flytrap grew to giant proportions.
So while Venus flytraps can eat human flesh, it does not mean you are in any danger. Repeatedly touching the plant might negatively affect the trap’s ability to digest prey.
Venus flytraps eat bugs for their nutrients. Humans do not possess these elements, and the long tem effects of feeding tiny bits of flesh to Venus flytraps is unknown.
Eating prey requires a lot of effort, but the Venus flytrap does so because it receives sustenance from its prey. But if you just feed it dead skin, it will not get any nutrients. The plant exerts energy to eat but does not receive any in return, which can harm it. In certain cases this can even kill the plant.
So while Venus flytraps prefer to eat nutritious bugs, its enzymes can dissolve bits of human skin. But unless the plant grows several feet tall, it cannot eat humans or large animals.
Can Venus Flytraps Draw Blood?
If you look closely at its traps, you will see those white filaments pointing straight up. Those are the hair sensors which the plant uses as trigger signals. When an object touches them twice, the trap shuts. But can they draw blood?
Venus flytraps cannot cut human skin. Even if the trap tries to close on your finger it will not draw blood. Those filaments are not sharp enough to hurt you. The most you will feel is a bit of tingling but other than that you are safe.
Even if you press your finger on the hair trigger, it will not cause pain. Even kids and pets will not be hurt, but repeated poking could harm the plant.
You will not be poisoned. It is also very unlikely you will develop any allergic reactions to it. The same applies to pets. For more on this you can check out our post on what happens if a Venus flytrap bites you.
Venus flytraps with plenty of light, water and air will grow healthy (which is why they should not be covered). The insides of their traps will be reddish and have these white hairs or filaments.
They look like thorns at first glance, but they are nowhere near that sharp. Keep in mind that if you touch these twice in 30 seconds or less, the trap will close.
However it will not harm you. The trap is not big enough to even cover your finger. This will actually weaken the plant because it will try to close over your finger instead of using that energy for digestible prey.
Each trap has a limited lifespan. After closing a few times it will die regardless if it caught something or not. So you should avoid poking the trap because you are literally shortening its lifespan.
What if Your Finger Gets Stuck in a Venus Flytrap?
Watching a Venus flytrap eat a bug, you are probably wondering if the same fate will befall your finger. It is a popular question and an understandable one too.
Nothing will happen to your finger even if it gets caught in a Venus flytrap. You will not feel any pain and with a bit of prodding, the trap will release you. In some cases the trap will release you on its own.
Venus flytraps can have anywhere from 10-20 individual traps. Each one has these hair sensors that serve as triggers and signals to the plant that live prey is in it. These traps also have scents that entice insects but humans cannot detect.
When an insect gets caught in the trap, the plant releases enzymes, turning it into liquid. If the enzymes cannot dissolve certain parts, they will be left behind. This is why cockroaches and especially beetles are not good for Venus flytraps because their shell is too hard.
If roaches and beetles are too hard for Venus flytraps to dissolve, imagine your finger. And keep in mind that the trap will only begin the digestive process if it is completely closed. Since your finger is too big for the trap, it will not commence digestion.
So there is no way you can get those digestive juices on your finger in case it gets stuck. And even if for some reason the plant does secrete those juices, it will not cause any harm.
In spite of what you might see in movies, Venus flytraps are not capable of hurting humans. They are too small and in reality, humans are more likely to harm the plant. So no need to worry on your part.
My fascination with carnivorous plants began many, many years ago with Venus Fly Traps. Now I am more than happy to impart what I know with other enthusiasts and those who are curious about meat eating plants.