“They wait, seemingly harmless and ordinary. The ever-patient predator. None escape their deadly embrace.” — Walter Perkins Professor of Botany at Lestria University.
Back when I was in my prime, I traveled through the jungles to the south in search of rare and interesting creatures to study.
And jungles are the favorite place to be for hungering vines.
And, even knowing of their existence and seeing them first hand in my friend Walter Perkins’ lab before I set out, I still nearly wondered into them time and time again. Thankfully, I hired exceptional guides who were far more observant than I and stopped me each time.
So, let that be a lesson to you if you wish to traverse the wilds in search of new and exciting creatures. Always hire a good guide. They’re worth every penny.
But, back to the subject at hand. Hungering vines look harmless. Their long vines reach down from the canopy above as do many others. Their appearance varies, some are bright and colorful and covered in flowers, and others are far less conspicuous. Also, they can cover surfaces horizontally as well and could easily look the part of roots sticking out of the ground.
Many varieties of hungering vines give off a sweet, somewhat intoxicating smell. Like a sort of drug perfume that lures prey close enough for it to strike.
And dying to hungering vines isn’t a fun way to go. Nor is it quick.
Once prey wanders too close, the vines will begin to move. They creep slowly and wind their way closer, slowly cutting off all paths of escape before entangling their hapless prey. But, if their prey figures out what’s going on too soon, the vines will strike quickly to snare their victim before it can escape.
Once they’ve latched onto their prey, the vines extend and wind their way around their victim. The vines secrete a paralytic as well as digestive enzymes, so the struggling prey quickly stills as they lose the ability to move. Then, they’re digested alive.
As their body dissolves, tiny hairs in the vines burrow into the body of their prey like roots.
It can take weeks for hungering vines to digest a man. And, much longer for larger prey. Sometimes months.
As such, hungering vines don’t need to eat very often. But, they’ll never turn down a meal unless they’re already busy with one.
Hungering vines a fairly well-known species of carnivorous plants and have been studied in great detail.
They have the ability to sense their surroundings to a limited extent, and their vines are sensitive to the touch. Beyond that, they have limited consciousness. They aren’t particularly smart, but they don’t need to be. Their ambush tactics seem to be something they inherit. Much as a butterfly simply knows how to fly without a great deal of intelligence.
So, how does one deal with hungering vines? Mostly, just avoid them. They’re rarely found near settlements as people kill them, so unless you’re in the wild, you won’t encounter them.
And, then it’s just a matter of identifying them, which can be difficult, and then avoiding them. There isn’t much else to it.
Should you be entangled, you’ll likely only have a few moments to break free before the paralytic takes hold and you become helpless, so traveling with companions makes it much safer. It’s always good to have someone who can cut you free.
Other than that, they detest fire so walking around with an open flame can often discourage them entirely. But, given that they most often lurk in jungles… you may want to be cautious. If the plants around you catch fire, it can easily spread and consume you as well.
So, really, the best thing to do is just make sure you have guides with you that know the area like the back of their hand. They’ll know how to recognize the local varieties of hungering vines and will probably already know where most of them are anyway.
So, just a little caution will see that you live another day.
- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University