Afraid of Spiders? Maybe Don't Read This Story

A huntsman spider was photographed eating a pygmy possum in Tasmania
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2019 11:10 AM CDT
Viral Shudder: Spider Is Seen Eating a Pygmy Possum
A huntsman spider is shown here.   (Getty Images)

Add this to your lists of things likely to cause nightmares: a hand-sized spider was captured eating a pygmy possum, and the photos that were posted last week to Facebook have gone viral. The Washington Post set the scene, which took place in April at Mount Field National Park in Tasmania. Two men were fixing a door in a ski lodge when they spotted the huntsman spider above, the mammal secured in its fangs. Justine Latton's husband was the one who saw it first, and she put the photos online. But she also wants to emphasize scale: Yes, the spider was huge—perhaps 9 inches across—but the dead possum was a minuscule variety, about the size of "a large walnut," she tells People.

Tasmania is home to two pygmy possum species, and a biology professor tells the Guardian the victim in this case was likely an eastern pygmy, whose body length typically tops out around 4 inches; they generally don't weigh more than 1.5 ounces. The spiders are common, but that prey isn't: In addition to other spiders and insects, lizards, birds, and frogs are most common. The creepier part? Latton says the spider and its snack had to be moved so the door could be opened, so her husband and his friend transported them outside in an old ice-cream container, per the Post. No word on whether anyone screamed. (Not scared enough? Read this.)

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