Nepenthes feeding

From: Andrew Marshall (
Date: Tue Jul 06 1999 - 09:43:16 PDT

Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 09:43:16 -0700
From: "Andrew Marshall" <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2481$foo@default>
Subject: Nepenthes feeding

Hi friends,
    This may be too much for some with weaker stomachs!
    To answer the questions of what can Nepenthes eat and what to feed them.
    In the past, when my collection was at its most diverse and there were
Nepenthes with traps capable of holding up to16 ounces of fluids, I also
employed various vertabrates as well as invertabrates to keep the bugs down.
I had two species of Anolis lizards, treefrogs and Chameleons
running loose in the greenhouse. This on top of the many different spiders
    It was not uncommon to find in the old traps (I prune all dead material
away regularly) bits of lizard or frog. In fact, when the lizards would
become so old that I could easily catch them (usually injured from fighting
as well) I would feed them to the traps.
    I also raise mice and rats to feed a large number of snakes I keep.
Surplus babies often went into the traps.
    These all were digested pretty fast, but the smell was aweful in the
greenhouse. The results were astouding though. LOTS of new growth
everywhere, yards of it in some cases, with plenty of traps. The traps at
times would be smaller after a heavy meal. I suspect in response and hoping
not to catch so large a meal next time.
    I also feed, and still do live crickets and in fact, any insect, slug or
snail I can get my hands on that wanders into the greenhouse, or appears in
the garden in plague or distructive numbers. This is really the best, and
the sense of revenge when one finds a nearly ripe tomato eaten away by some
slug, or the basil we had worked so hard to grow mowed down by weavels makes
it more worthwhile even. Remember to cut the slugs in half and crush the
snails first however. If you don't they just crawl out later and repeat the
damage on your prized Nepenthes what ever.
    I find also that S. purpurea varieties also benefit from feeding like
this. It does tend to attract things like raccons and 'possums however so
be aware of that. The slugs, chopped of course, digest down pretty fast and
the plants will get very big, if the animals don't damage them first. A
good trap will take care of them if they become a problem.
    I don't feed the upright Sarracenia. They do alright on thier own. In
fact I frequently raid them when they are loaded with large moths,using the
still live moths as lizard food. The plants don't mind. They are usually
in the throes of heartburn any way from over eating.
    Well, hope this helps!

ps. I am coming up with a cook book of various gourmet recipes that I hink
would be very nice fo the plants. Will post samples on the web page soon.

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