London, August 18 (ANI): British scientists have discovered a deadly plant that eats rats, and is believed to be the largest meat-eating shrub.
According to a report in The Sun, the giant pitcher plant lures rodents into its slipper-shaped mouth and dissolves them with acid-like enzymes.
Scientists, led by botanists Stewart McPherson and Alastair Robinson, tracked it down on Mount Victoria in the Philippines after hearing that missionaries had seen "whole rats" being eaten.
"The plant produces spectacular traps which catch not only insects, but also rodents. It is remarkable that it remained undiscovered until the 21st century," said McPherson, of Poole, Dorset.
The research team named the incredibly rare species after legendary wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.
"My team and I named it in honour of Sir David whose work has inspired generations toward a better understanding of the beauty and diversity of the natural world," said McPherson.
"I was contacted by the team shortly after the discovery and they asked if they could name it after me. I was delighted and told them, 'Thank you very much'," said Sir David.
"I'm absolutely flattered. This is a remarkable species the largest of its kind. I'm told it can catch rats then eat them with its digestive enzymes. It's certainly capable of that," he added.
The plant, now dubbed Nepenthes attenboroughii, is green and red and can grow a stem more than 4ft long. It is found only in the scrub high on the windswept slopes of Mount Victoria.
McPherson and former Cambridge University botanist Robinson made their discovery during an expedition in 2007.
But, they have only just described the killer shrub in a journal after a three-year study of all 120 species of pitcher plant. (ANI)