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The Late Movies: 13 Carnivorous Plants Eating Insects...and More

Tonight, prepare to be a little grossed out: videos of carnivorous plants eating stuff. Not for the faint of heart!

Sundew vs. Fruit Fly Timelapse

Taken over six hours.

Venus Flytrap vs. Slug

The audio is just buzzing, making it even more bizarre.

Venus Flytrap vs. Fly

Tense. Audio is bad/unimportant.

Venus Flytrap vs. Butterfly and Frog

That might actually be a moth, but still. Yeek.

Venus Flytrap vs. Spider

The spider is being fed to the plant. Sad.

Venus Flytrap vs. Ladybug

Now this is way sadder than the spider.

Venus Flytrap and Pitcher Plants vs. David Attenborough

Sir David is not eaten. Just wanted to be clear about that. This one ends with a cliffhanger!

Sundew Plant vs. Flies

Apparently from the same documentary as the video above.

Pitcher Plant vs. Mouse

The video's YouTube title kinda gives away the ending to this one. But still, it's touch and go for a bit, particularly near the end. And apparently later it didn't go so well.

Bladderworts

This video is a bit slow (partly because the bladderwort is such a tiny plant), but hey, it's eating insects too!

Pitchers With Fangs

A look at some scary stuff at Kew Gardens. "These ones can actually catch mammals!"

How Pitcher Plants Work

A nice video from New Scientist explaining how the pitcher plant works. Science!

Further Reading

Check out: The Hunting Strategies of Carnivorous Plants, Stunning but Deadly Carnivorous Plants, and Madagascar’s Legendary Man-Eating Tree. You might also enjoy Wild View: Carnivorous Plants, a short documentary on carnivorous plants focusing on those found in the wilds of the US.

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Live Smarter
All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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Weird
Massive Tumbleweeds Invaded a California Town, Trapping Residents in Their Homes
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For Americans who don’t live out west, any mention of tumbleweeds tends to conjure up images of a lone bush blowing lazily across the desert. The reality is not so romantic, as Californians would tell you.

The town of Victorville, California—an 85-mile drive from Los Angeles—was overtaken by massive tumbleweeds earlier this week when wind speeds reached nearly 50 mph. The tumbleweeds blew across the Mojave Desert and into town, where they piled up on residents’ doorsteps. Some stacks towered as high as the second story, trapping residents in their homes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

City employees and firefighters were dispatched to tackle the thorny problem, which reportedly affected about 150 households. Pitchforks were used to remove the tumbleweeds, some of which were as large as 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

"The crazy thing about tumbleweeds is that they are extremely thorny, they connect together like LEGOs," Victorville spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "You can't reach out and grab them and move them. You need special tools. They really hurt."

Due to the town’s proximity to the open desert, residents are used to dealing with the occasional tumbleweed invasion. Similar cases have been reported in Texas, New Mexico, and other states in the West and Southwest. In 1989, the South Dakota town of Mobridge had to use machinery to remove 30 tons of tumbleweeds, which had buried homes, according to Metro UK.

Several plant species are considered a tumbleweed. The plant only becomes a nuisance when it reaches maturity, at which time it dries out, breaks from its root, and gets carried off into the wind, spreading seeds as it goes. They’re not just unsightly, either. They can cause soil dryness, leading to erosion and sometimes even killing crops.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

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