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Photo of huntsman spider eating pygmy possum goes viral

A huntsman spider eats a pygmy possum inside a ski lodge at Mount Field National Park in Tasmania. (Justine Latton / Justine Latton)

"Roger, wasn't worried."

It was the warning Justine Latton's man issued before he instructed his friend to look over his head. The couple had been in the middle of fixing a door inside an old ski cabin at Mount Field National Park in Tasmania when Latton's husband noticed they were not alone.

Less than one foot away, a huntsman spider, about the size of an adult hand, lay up near the top of the door – and a dead pygmy possum dangled from its shiny black prisoners.

"It's a bit of disgusting and weird and amazing," Latton told The Washington Post she thought when her husband, requesting his name not to be used, first showed his pictures on the grim scene in April.

Latton was not the only person shocked by the "possum-spinning spider". Images of the hairy arachnid and its mammal's snack shared with Facebook last week by Latton have since become viral and highlight an unusual event that spider experts find fascinating, but others call "things of nightmares".

But as striking as the pictures may seem, Latton emphasized it in mportance of understanding scale. While the spider was "one of the greatest" that her husband had ever seen, the dead possum was about the size of a large walnut, she said. There are two species of minuscule marsupial found in Tasmania: Eastern pygmy possums and small pygmy possums. The eastern variety varies in weight from 15 to 43 grams.

Bryan Fry, a professor at the University of Queensland's Biological Sciences School, told Posten that he considered the spider to be about nine centimeters in diameter.

"It's a good spider," Fry said. "It's not some kind of Godzilla spider."

Huntsman spiders, known for their size and speed, are usually found in Australia and Tasmania, so Latton said her husband and his friend were not "freaked out" when they realized a rather big man had been fooling around the bullshit.

"It's the kind of place you'd really expect to find a spider," she said.

The lush pygmy possum hanging from the mouth was another story.

When her husband warned his friend of the odd duode floating near his head, Latton Roger said, "Goodness, you don't see that sort of thing every day."

Legged critters typical diet consists of insects, Fry said, why most Australian residents welcome them to their homes. The spiders are often found behind agencies or paintings.

"You are moving a painting and then there is something that looks like a strange face-hugger looking back at you," he said.

Despite the spiders Fry, a married expert, described them as "benign, friendly residents."

"They're not a dangerous spider," he said. "They're not one I don't mind having around my house. I'd rather get some huntsman and smaller cockroaches."

Huntsman spiders feeding on small rodents are "not common, but it's not huge," he said. . Unlike other spiders that use the web to weaken their prey, the hunters chase them down and immobilize them with the help of poison.

"I wouldn't expect a pygmy possum to be taken out so easily, so there's a chance that maybe that animal might have been sick or injured for it to be preceded, Fry said.

He added:" It's not something you would normally see, so the news makes it quite interesting. "

There have been other cases of big spiders that go after rodents, Graham Milledge, a head of arachnics assembly at the Australian Museum in Sydney, Posten said. 19659022] In 2016, video of a hunter's spider scalding on the side of a refrigerator went while killing a dead mouse. A few months ago, researchers released a tarantula recording on the size of a food plate that killed an opossum in the rainforests of southeastern Peru. 19659023] The spiders are trying to eat "everything that lies within their grasp. . . It's a size they think they can handle, "Milledge said.

On social media, Latton's images made mixed reactions, ranging from fascination to horror.

" I would be so freaking excited if I was fortunate to witness this , "A user commented on Facebook." Thanks for the part of such an epic photo. "

Others thought the pictures signaled as a person wrote, that it was" time to leave the planet. "

Although the images have frightened many, Fry emphasized that huntsman spiders are beneficial, especially for pest control. "1969032]" Do not kill them, "he said." Take a living and living approach. "

After snapping pictures of the hunter's spider and its meal, Latton said that her husband and his friend successfully brought the couple outdoors with an old glass container.

"No spiders were injured in the relocation work (too late for possum)," she wrote in a Facebook message to Posten.

Correction: One previous version of this story has been incorrectly described pygmy possums, they are marsupials.

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