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Lemang periuk kera has been on the hot seat recently after reports of its mass harvesting for Ramadan and Raya sparked an outcry by environmentalists.

The viral Facebook post urged Malaysians to refrain from eating the carnivorous plant which was said to be currently listed as critically endangered.

If their critically endangered status wasn’t enough of a reason to convince you from refraining from indulging in this rare delicacy, we might have a better reason for you – pitcher plants feed off droppings of small mammals.

Picture credit: mohdzarin.com

You heard us right. Twitter account @ZoologiMY recently shared this little piece of information through a twitter thread on the subject.

According to the thread, pitcher plants have a mutually beneficial relationship with small mammals. Most specifically, bats and rodents.

And how exactly does their relationship work, you might ask? Well…

Based on research conducted by scientists at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), bats chill inside the pitcher plant cause the pitcher plant keeps it safe from parasites. Meanwhile, to return the favour, bats will poop inside it. And the pitcher plant eats that poop.

Besides bats, mountain tree shrew also poop in pitcher plants.

Mountain tree shrew like to eat the nectar found on the underside of pitcher plants leaves. Once the tree shrew is nice and full, he then sits atop the plants opening and defecates into the pot.

So…are you having lemang periuk kera this Raya? Let us know in the comments!

(UBD Research on Bats and Pitcher Plants Published in High-Impact Current Biology Journal)
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