The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 12

Q: Are Venus flytraps a danger to my pets?

A: Venus flytraps are not able to eat your cat, dog, or mouse. If you have very small pets like little arthropods or possibly tiny frogs, and you put those in an enclosure with carnivorous plants, of course the carnivorous plants might gobble them up. But that should be no surprise to you! (Although I expect it would be to the frog.)

While a Venus flytrap is safe for pets (other than the possible exceptions I listed above), the plant does have compounds in it that may be poisonous if your pets eats one.

Don't panic! Plenty of houseplants are toxic, so Venus flytraps are not significant risks. Staff from the USA's ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center told me that while they have had a number of calls involving ingestion of Venus flytraps by pets, the pets have either shown no symptoms, or at most mild gastrointestinal upset. In October 2000, they did get a call from a veterinarian who said that two cats died after eating Venus flytraps, but it is hard to say exactly what happened.

The compound most likely to cause problems for plant-hungry pets is a naphthoquinone called plumbagin and its isomer. These compounds also occur in some sundews like Drosera rotundifolia. I don't know more, so I'll stop typing.

Page citations: Burrows and Tyrl, 2001; Schlauer, J., pers. comm.; reader contributions.

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Revised: 2018
©Barry Rice, 2018