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Viral Images Show a Huge Spider Preying on a Possum in Tasmania

It’s not even the first time this year that a spider made news for capturing a possum.

by Becky Ferreira
Jun 19 2019, 3:03pm

Huntsman spider versus pygmy possum. Image: Justine Latton

Australia, a nation notorious for its delightfully nightmarish animals, has further cemented its reputation with new viral images of a spider eating a possum.

The pictures, posted by Justine Latton on Saturday, show a suspended huntsman spider grasping a small pygmy possum. Latton’s husband, Adam, snapped the pictures while he was staying at a ski hut at Mount Field National Park in Tasmania.

"It was one of the biggest huntsman spiders he'd ever seen," Latton told Insider. The arachnid was comparable in size to "an adult's palm," she said.

Huntsman spiders are so-named because they ambush prey species as opposed to relying on webs to trap them. Unlike their silk-spinning brethren, these spiders just reach out, grab prey with their long legs, and deliver venom to the meal until it dies.

While this particular possum-eater is Australian, huntsman spiders are found on every continent except Antarctica. They are also not the only giant arachnids that feast on mammals—just a few months ago, scientists published footage of a tarantula dragging a possum through the undergrowth of the Peruvian Amazon.

Huntsman spiders can be aggressive, and will attack humans if provoked. Fortunately, their venom is not strong enough to require hospitalization in most cases, but they do leave painful bites.

Point being? Don’t mess with big spiders, even if you are a human and especially if you are a possum.