Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

How do plants defend themselves against caterpillars and elephants?

Watch more with these video collections:

“Every bite an herbivore takes comes at the expense of a plant,” explains Nature Education’s Knowledge Project. “Are plants passive victims or do they actively resist these attacks?”

Consider the surfaces of the plants. Why do some plants have bark, waxy leaves, thorns, or spines? And what about those hard-to-detect stinging microstructures, bitter tastes, and toxic chemicals that some plants hide beneath their surfaces? This TED-Ed lesson by Valentin Hammoudi, directed by Juan M. Urbina Studios, explores the amazing ways plants defend themselves.

plant predators

“Plants are constantly under attack. They face threats ranging from microscopic fungi to small herbivores like caterpillars, up to large herbivores like elephants. But plants are ready, with a whole series of internal and external defenses that make them a less appealing meal — or even a deadly one.”

cute hungry animals eating plants
releasing defenses
Related reading: How Plants Defend Themselves—Over Time at Cornell Research.

Plus: An Overview of Plant Defenses against Pathogens and Herbivores from The American Phytopathological Society.

Next, watch more TED-Ed videos about nature and these handpicked related videos:
• The wild world of carnivorous plants
• Venus flytraps count to avoid being tricked
• Huge and stinky: Titan Arum, The Corpse Flower
Feedback loops: How nature gets its rhythms
Giant pandas and their bamboo-only diet
Why do baby koalas eat their mothers’ poop?

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Why Do Tumbleweeds Tumble?

Rion Nakaya

What is Botany? Alexis Nikole Nelson explains with Crash Course Botany

Rion Nakaya

Venus flytraps count to avoid being tricked

Rion Nakaya

The Wood Wide Web: How trees secretly talk to and share with each other

Rion Nakaya

The wild world of carnivorous plants

Rion Nakaya

Sir David Attenborough visits the same exact plant 40 years apart

Rion Nakaya

Pop! Hungry caterpillars vs. touch-me-not seed pods

Rion Nakaya

Methuselah, a tree that has lived 5,000 years… but how?

Rion Nakaya

Hydnora africana, the strangest plant in the world?

Rion Nakaya