Some early naturalists, such as Carl Linnaeus, refused to accept the idea that a plant would purposefully eat an insect. However, according to National Geographic Magazine, a carnivorous plant called the Venus Fly Trap can sense an insect landing on it and will snap its leaves shut on the bug in approximately 1/10 of a second. Pitcher plants have a less dramatic trap; bugs fall into the tube-like leaves and the surface is too gooey to climb back out. To witness these plant marvels for yourself, build your own carnivorous terrarium.
Place loose pebbles or small pieces of gravel on the bottom of the glass tank. Do not use alkali stones (such as marble or limestone). The Gardener's Rake recommends using a gravel layer an inch deep. On top of the gravel, add a ½ inch layer of activated charcoal.
Add a layer of sphagnum moss (about an inch deep). If you are planting sundews, Botanique recommends avoiding live sphagnum moss, as it may bury the sundews.
Place a three-inch-thick layer of soil on top of the sphagnum moss. Only use unfertilized soils. Ideally, the soil should contain perlite and about 40 percent sand, according to Botanique.
Add enough distilled water to the terrarium to create a bog-like environment. A bog is an example of a wetland area. It is characterized by marshy, wet terrain and waterlogged debris.
Plant a selection of carnivorous plants in your terrarium. Some common examples of carnivorous plants include the Venus Fly Trap, pitcher plant, Cobra Lily and sundew. Dig a hole in the terrarium that is just large enough to accommodate the plant's root system. Place the plant in the hole and cover it up.
Situate your carnivorous terrarium in a sunny, warm location. According to The Gardener's Rake, carnivorous plants tend to do best in daytime temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees F and nighttime temperatures between 55 to 65 degrees F.
Water with only distilled water or rainwater. Tap water and bottled water often contain minerals that can damage the roots of your plants. Water often enough to maintain a bog-like environment, or a marshy, waterlogged area. The plants do not need to be floating in the terrarium, but the soil and moss should be thoroughly wet.
Feed your carnivorous plants about once per month, as recommended by The Gardener's Rake. Feed them dead or live bugs, such as flies, ants and crickets.