Are you brave enough to touch a deadly meat-eating plant?


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A “deadly” meat-eating plant that can devour a whole rat alive will take pride of place at a new event on Anglesey.

The natural habitat of the carnivorous Pitcher Plant is the tropical rainforests of South America or Asia. – but around 40 varieties are being grown at Bangor University’s Treborth Botanical Gardens in Bangor.

Along with some of the centre’s other rare species, they will be going on show to the public at the inaugural Festival of Discovery at the Anglesey Showground

The hands-on-science exhibition has come about because this year the Bangor Science Festival is relocating to the Anglesey event which runs between Thursday, May 30, and Saturday, June 1. 

Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to discover the hidden world of science with help from Bangor University scientists and students through a host of hands-on activities and demonstrations.

Natalie Chivers, the curator of the Gardens which is part of the university, said: “The pitcher plants can grow up to 18 inches tall and they feed on insects and some of them feed on bigger things like birds and rodents including mice and rats.

“Some of the really big pitchers in South America either hang from trees or sit at ground level and they have a really attractive pitcher which is like a mouth. It has chemicals all around its lip and inside which is very slippery. It is like a trap.

“If you’re an unsuspecting insect or even a rodent, you’re going to drop down and you won’t be able to get out.

“They are perfectly formed to catch them and they’re sneaky because they’ll wait for something to drop in and they have really strong chemical juices at the bottom which will dissolve the creature and feed the plant.

“They look benign and beautiful but they are quite sinister really they are deadly but, despite what some horror films would have us believe, they can’t eat humans.”

Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to discover the hidden world of science with help from Bangor University scientists and students through a host of hands-on activities and demonstrations.

Stevie Scanlan, the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering’s Marketing Manager, said “There will literally be science for all and something for everyone  over the three days where families can learn more about the world around them and how science is involved in every aspect of life.

“Our biologists will demonstrate how evolution is happening all around us, even here in North Wales. They will investigate and demonstrate how species adapt to their environment.

“They will also demonstrate how camouflage and industrial revolution led to adaption in the peppered moth and how seeds have altered beak shapes in Darwin’s favourite birds and how soil pollution can rapidly alter the course of evolution in plants.”

“An interactive display about the shoreline will examine different natural and man-made objects that can be found. We are aware of seaweed and plastics but there are other rarer objects we might stumble across. And we will have live animals in touch tanks so children can interact with some of the many species to be found on the shoreline.”

“There’s so much more going on such as the opportunity to discover how functional food fibres help combat childhood obesity, discover more about First Aid and why hygiene is so important, how micro plastics are damaging our rivers, how Bangor University is helping the local fishing industry and how local wetlands are important in reducing the effects of carbon.”

According to organiser Davina Carey-Evans, managing director of Beaumaris-based Sbarc Event Management, it’s going to be a three day fun-packed family festival.

She said: “I’m delighted Bangor University is partnering with us at the Festival of Discovery.

“We have so much going on with a chance to get involved in bush craft workshops, storytelling, circus skills, bubble factories, dancing, singing and so much more.

“We have three days packed with some of the best folk music Wales has to offer. We will have performances by Alaw, Maelog, Elfen, Trials of Cato, Tacla VRi, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, K-Bros and many more.

“We want visitors to discover new bands and music. We will be holding lots of musical workshops from African drumming and Up Beat Music and Arts which is designed to introduce children to the joys of musical theatre.

“Among the other activities going on will be fun with Welsh, kiddies cookery classes or paddle board taster sessions.”

She added: “It’s going to be a wonderful festival and a great opportunity to discover a bit more about what North Wales and Anglesey has to offer. It’s an event for families where children can discover and learn so much about the world around them in a safe and friendly environment.”

To find out more about the Festival of Discovery please visit www.festivalofdiscovery.wales  

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