Elementary Class Dissection Reveals Carnivorous Plant’s Surprising Last Meal

by Alex Falls

Students in a Georgia elementary school were shocked by a discovery during a routine biological exercise. They were dissecting a meat-eating plant native to the Georgia area as part of a class. But one unlucky student came across an unfortunate reality of nature when they found the partially digested remains of a lizard.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources shared the story on Facebook in a post on September 11th. “During a routine presentation on native plants with a group of elementary students, our biologists learned a valuable lesson. Check the plant before you dissect,” the post began.

“The plan was to dissect a pitcher plant to show the students its contents, which are typically comprised of beetles and a variety of flying insects. To everyone’s surprise, they found a green anole.”

The photos shared on Facebook show the lizard mostly still intact except for a hole in its neck after it was inhaled by the tube-like plant. The school where the discovery was made wasn’t revealed, nor was the reaction of the students who found it.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said there are 11 types of “pitch plants” throughout Georgia. They describe the carnivorous plant as one that attracts insect prey with a combination of “scent, gravity and a waxy, slippery substance, forcing prey to fall into the pitcher.”

“In the shaft of the plant, downward-pointing hairs make escape impossible,” they continued in their post. “In the lowest part of the pitcher, there is a pool of liquid that drowns and digests the prey. Leaving the exoskeletons to pile up inside. Our unsuspecting victim was likely chasing after an insect to dine on before slipping and becoming this plant’s feast.”

Plant Life Sometimes Gets Ugly

The story quickly went viral and attracted over one thousand reactions and comments. When one user begged the question if a green anole is the same thing as a lizard, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources clarified some details about this species.

“The green anole is a common lizard throughout Georgia, but is absent from some areas in the mountains. Anoles are generally arboreal (living in trees) but can be found almost anywhere. Anoles are commonly found in suburban or even urban areas and can often be seen perched on fences and rooftops.”

One user described her own experience with coming across reptile corpses during school lessons. “Been there done that. I have found tree frogs and lizards and some other smelly unfortunate critters in pitcher plants while I was dissecting for children IN the picture plant garden. Fortunately, I guess, most of the children thought it was hilarious,” wrote the user.

Hopefully, the children from the school in Georgia weren’t traumatized by the shocking discovery of nature’s ugly side.