via LGM) of the existence of Puya chilensis, a variety of feral pineapple. Opinions are divided as to whether the sharp spiny leaves of P. chilensis are truly designed to "snare and trap sheep and other animals, which slowly starve to death"... Some hyperventilating credulous BBC boofhead thinks that the plant does obtain fertiliser this way; everyone else says "cobblers". Partly because there are no photographs or other evidence of P. chilensis plants surrounded by the bones of animals that died and decayed on its spines; partly because (like other bromeliads) it prefers its soil unfertilised; but mainly because sheep in Chile are a recent European introduction.
Of course an empirical test is always available: spray a specimen with salt water and see if it dies. The salt-water vulnerability of menacing carnivorous plants (and other invading aliens) is an iron-cast law of nature, on account of the Morphogenic Resonance created by one or two precedents.
None of this information was available to Keats and Chapman during their ill-fated attempt to make a quick fortune from sheep-farming in Chile, so their lack of skepticism is excusable. The pair were firmly convinced that earlier farmers had foundered not because the climate unsuited the arid high-country land for pastoral use, but
rather because the livestock would rub themselves against the local flora (as is the wont of itchy ovines), entangle their wool upon the spines, and inevitably perish. They were easily inveigled by an unscrupulous land-owner into taking out a lease on a large acreage, in the belief that they could safeguard sheep against this danger by sewing empty
fertiliser bags around them as crude jackets.
Chapman expressed some demurrals. He wondered whether the supply of fertiliser bags was sufficient.
"We don't have to wrap all the sheep," Keats confidently declared, "only the most valuable, most wool-producing of our stock."
Keats was dismissive. "They don't come up to scratch."