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Ravenous Plants and Frightening Fish!

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At first there were only a few, most in areas thick with eateries – restaurants, hamburger stands, that sort of thing. They weren't particularly noticeable. They weren't pretty, like most flowers, like many plants, but they were sufficiently complex, as plants go, to be mildly interesting. I doubt anyone made the connection between the mysterious disappearance of so many hapless dogs and cats and the strange new plants.

But that was months ago! Now they are ubiquitous – everywhere! Try as you might to walk your pup safely on his nightly outing, chances are he will disappear – gone in a gulp; swallowed up by the ravenous, monster Attenboroughii plants!!

Who would have dreamed that the world's oldest problem, rodent control – rats! – would be resolved by the bold placement of rodent-eating shrubbery on every city sidewalk, in every alley, in every urban corridor? Often in the morning I swear I hear them chewing!

This horror was brought about by the stalwart Scotsman, Stewart McPherson, who discovered the heralded rodent-devouring pitcher plant, Nepenthes Attenbououghii, while researching high atop Mt. Victoria in Southeast Asia. Previously pitcher plants were content with careless flies. Not any longer! Small dogs vanish; unwary cats have never a prayer! We city dwellers have begun carrying our young children. I wouldn't mind if the boys didn't squirm so. I should carry a few frogs to bribe the fearless fern.  I hear Attenbououghii loves frog.

So I left the big city, pup under one arm, kids under the other, and made my way to a little hideaway town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Ah, peace at last. Sweet tranquility. So I thought!
No sooner had I settled the children, the pup, and a new and matronly housekeeper in the lake house, then I encountered another surprise that could only happen here in the long awaited 21st century.

I approached the shore of the vast Great Lake. Expecting tumbling waves and windswept trees, I was met by a barrage of signs in four colors and three languages warning "Watch out for Flying Fish" and "Approach with Caution – Asian Carp!"

"Asian Carp?" I scratched my head. I'm no botanist but I keep up with things. "Of course… the Asian Carp is a distant relative of the very familiar and most common household goldfish! How big a problem could that be?" But I returned home anyway. Tomorrow would be another day, and the housekeeper was just getting to know the boys.

My new and wizened neighbor explained this novel situation, in which fishermen are plagued with nightmares and water skiers ski at their own risk. The dreaded Asian Carp is no goldfish! Weighing in at 100 pounds, and on a good day four feet in length, this invasive fish is invading Lake Michigan. "They [the Army Corps of Engineers] had to turn up the current at the barriers, at the water entry points," my neighbor said. "Way up. Carp jumps four feet outta the water. Can't boat, can't ski, can't hardly walk along the shore these days!"

"These days" indeed.  Maybe I should pack up the kids and risk the man-eating plants of the city; or maybe we could rent some space among monks, high in the Himalayas. I can't wait for the 22nd century!

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • I need one of those pitcher plants for my herd of marauding squirrels. I wonder if they will survive a Michigan winter?

    I’ve not heard of the Asian carp, but zebra mussels are invading the inland lakes. It’s a never ending battle against nature.

  • john lake

    A never ending battle…

  • Its a battle we all have to live with though, Nature!

  • John Lake

    tis a battle indeed!
    When I wrote the artice, last October, the
    Asian carp was more of less unheard of. Now, of course, we see him mentioned in the news, especially around the American Great Lakes, daily.

  • John Lake

    December 6, 2010:
    Since I wrote and posted this charming story, the threat of the Asian Carp has increased to alarming proportions. In some parts of the Illinois River, the carp are as thick as 3000 fish per mile; they can weigh up to 100 pounds, and grow to a length of more than four feet. Due to their large size, ravenous appetites, and rapid rate of reproduction, these fish pose a significant risk to the Great Lakes Ecosystem.
    They eliminate the edible sport fish, while these carp are suitable only for use in pet food. Unchecked, these ungainly fish could move into the entire Great Lake region, and make that area inhospitable for social uses.