Photo: Holger BohnFile under “the disgusting wonders of nature”: Scientists have discovered a species of pitcher plant in Borneo that is a living bat toilet. The plants offer cozy quarters for local bats, and the bats repay them by shitting down their necks. Which the plants love, the little perverts, because it gives them their RDA of nitrogen. Talk about your circle of life — where is the motherfucking Disney song about this?
It’s probably inaccurate to call these pitcher plants “carnivorous,” come to think of it — they are crap at catching bugs, which is the reason they have to eat shit (and not die). “Coprophagous plants” might be better. Semantics aside, though, can we just marvel at this delicate tracery of poop symbiosis? There are a million obvious reasons to worry about humans disrupting the ecosystem — dead birds, sad pandas, dingoes eating babies. But this marvel of plant/mammal cooperation and scatology should remind us that there are even more and grosser ecological wonders we could fuck up if we’re not careful.