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Carnivorous Nepenthes Plant Gobbles Blue Tit In Somerset, England

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MONKEYCUP
A carnivorous plant called the Monkey Cup pitcher swallowed a blue tit bird, a rare feat. | Apex

A type of killer plant gobbled a blue tit for the second time in history.

Yes, it sounds like a scene from the unrated version of Avatar, but it actually happened in Somerset, England.

Oh, before you gripe to the standards and practices department, please note that the blue tit in question is a bird seen throughout Europe and Central Asia.

The murderous plant in question is known as Nepenthes x mixta, or Monkey Cup pitcher, and is native to South East Asia.

This particular plant belongs to Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, a prize-winning gardener in Somerset, England, who came onto the "scene of the crime" while inspecting his tropical garden, according to the BBC.

He was "absolutely staggered," mainly because it is exceedingly rare for plants to eat birds. Although carnivorous plants have been known to chow down on frogs, lizards, mice and the occasional rat, Hewitt-Cooper's Monkey Cup pitcher is believed to be only the second time that such a plant has been documented eating a bird, the BBC said,

"I've got a friend who's studied these particular plants extensively in the wild and he's never found evidence of any of them having caught birds," Hewitt-Cooper said to the BBC. "The other documented time was in Germany a few years ago and that was in cultivation, not in the wild."

The Monkey Cup pitcher's M.O. is to attract and trap insects with a pool of liquid.

European settlers gave it the name after seeing monkeys drinking water from them in the rainforest, The Daily Mail reported. The climbing vines of the plants produce a form of leaf called a 'pitcher', which can be large enough to hold up to two litres of water.

Hewitt-Cooper speculates that the blue tit had been attracted to the plant on Saturday by the insects and landed on its leaf.

"I think it must have leant in to pluck out an insect that was floating on the fluid inside, tipped in too far and become wedged and unable to get out," he told the BBC.

But while the Monkey Cup pitcher may have won this round in this Darwinesque survival of the fittest, Hewitt-Cooper tells the Sun that the blue tit may be getting posthumous revenge.

"It just got trapped there and died," he said to the tabloid. "It's proved a bit much for the plant too because it's not been able to fully digest the bird, which has gone a bit rotten."

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Around the Web

Garden bird eaten by carnivorous PLANT... in Somerset (and, no, it ...

Blue tit eaten by a plant - The Sun

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Man's prized plant eats bird - MSN News UK

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