Carnivine Has Saliva That Smells Great

Illustration for article titled Carnivine Has Saliva That Smells Great
Image: The Pokemon Company / Kotaku

Every Pokemon is interesting and worth talking about. I don’t play a ton of Pokemon, but I do enjoy the universe and I love learning more about the creatures in it. So, Here’s Another Pokemon! It’s Carnivine!


Carnivine Details

Type: Grass

Average Height: 4' 07"

Average Weight: 59.5 lbs

First Added In Generation IV

Looking at Carnivine, a large plant with a big mouth who seems to possess a brain and emotions, I instantly reminded of a classic Rick Moranis film. You know the one I’m talking about: Spaceballs. No. That’s not it. Hmm...Oh, Little Shop of Horrors! However, while we know Audrey 2 in that movie ate humans and could talk, we don’t know if it had nice smelling saliva. Hopefully, a new spin-off expanding the lore of the film will answer that question, but for now, we do know that Carnivine HAS very nice smelling saliva and uses it to lure in prey.


Carnivine looks like a mutated Venus Fly Trap and shares a lot in common with that real-world plant. It has a large mouth that it leaves open and then slams shut to catch as bugs or small animals get to close. And as mentioned, it lures these future meals using saliva that smells incredibly sweet, attracting many critters.

Screenshot: The Pokemon Company

For a Pokemon introduced all the way back in Gen. 4, there’s not a lot of information about Carnivine and it leaves me with questions. Like, does anybody use its saliva as a perfume or deodorant? Seems like a logical thing to do, assuming you could harvest it safely and efficiently. Also, none of the in-game Pokedex entries listed on Bulbapedia state what it eats. Only in a few appearances in the anime is it portrayed as a bug-eater. What I’m saying is I don’t trust this info. Something that big is eating humans. Probably kids. I won’t say anymore, for legal reasons, but follow the saliva people. #FollowTheSaliva

Also, just a little thing but it has really dumb-looking eyes. It has eyes that look like they were added a few moments before it was sent off to be added to the game because someone looked at it without eyes and went “Oh shit...that’s scary and not cute at all.”


Favorite Fan Art

Illustration for article titled Carnivine Has Saliva That Smells Great
Image: Karaikou

See, yeah, this is probably why they added some goofy, big eyes to this thing. That was a good call.

Random Facts

  • According to Bulbapedia, it walks around on its leaves. Strucally this seems iffy and from an evolutionary standpoint seems bad. But this is also a giant plant that can move around and blink. SO...
  • But this a giant plant? A few Pokedex entries mention that it “looks like a plant.” Looks? If that’s not a plant what is it? An alien creature from outer spac- ohhh...
  • It takes a whole day to eat and digest its food. Like me on Thanksgiving when I lay around for 12 hours “digesting” and “letting my food settle.”

Best Comment From Last Week

One can, toucan, read can, blew can.


And folks say poetry is a dying art form.

Previously On Here’s Another Pokemon...


Here’s Another Pokemon is a weekly look into one Pokemon and how weird, disturbing, silly, or cool it is and why. Catch new entries each weekend and click here to see all of the past Pokemon we have covered.

Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

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I’m not exactly sure why Game Freak decided this needed to be a thing, but five of the first seven Gens feature single-stage, late-game Grass-types that are mostly forgotten about because they have little battle utility. Gen 1 had Tangela, Gen 3 had Tropius, Gen 4 had Carnivine, and Gen 5 had Maractus. They skipped Gen 6, then brought in Dhelmise in Gen 7. The Pika-clones, early game bugs/birds/rodents, the humanoid fighting-types, those I get. But single-stage useless Grass-types? Wha?

In-game Carnivine is, as said earlier, pretty useless. It has pretty good Attack and Special Attack, but it’s pitiful Speed and middling HP means it’ll likely never be able to take advantage in any meaningful way. It can learn Ingrain to heal, which any Carnivine user will have to have if they want to survive with the thing. It can learn the Stockpile/Spit Up/Swallow combo, but there are far better users of those. Wring Out CAN be useful for high HP Pokémon, but any that qualify likely has a way to take out the flytrap in one move. And it’s naturally learned traditional attacks are pretty bad. Leaf Tornado has meh power and under 100% Accuracy, while Power Whip is strong, but inaccurate as well. The only real solid, dependable attack Carnivine learns naturally is Crunch, which it doesn’t receive STAB for. It CAN learn Energy Ball and Sludge Bomb via TM in Gen 7, but those run off its Special Attack, which, while good, is still much lower than its Attack.

Also, while in-game text states it runs on its leaves, in practice that is not the reality. In the anime, it floats as if it were a Flying-type and I don’t think it is ever animated walking in any episode. Furthermore, when Gen 6 moved to 3D, Carnivine was animated floating as well to make it eligible for Sky Battles... which it sucked at since it’s a Grass-type and most Sky Battle-eligible Pokémon were Flying-types.

But really, the only reason Carnivine is still remembered at all is because of the anime. Specifically, James caught one early in the Diamond & Pearl series, and much like Victreebel and Cacnea before it, Carnivine really, really liked lovingly hurting its Trainer whenever it appeared. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if Carnivine existed at all solely so it could be a running gag in the anime.

Despite being one of James’ fondest Pokémon and one he owned back when he was a kid (and left sitting in a Poké Ball in a toy chest for over a decade), Carnivine only appeared during the Sinnoh saga. As part of the semi-reboot for Best Wishes, Team Rocket left all their Pokémon at headquarters and none of them have been seen since except for Wobuffet. Given his history with Carnivine (and his other Pokémon, Mime Jr.) it really makes little sense for James to actually hand them over for random Grunts to use. I have no idea why the anime writers didn’t at least bring them back for a proper sendoff once they abandoned the zombie/serious Team Rocket in Unova.