- A photo of a giant spider eating a small possum has gone viral, inducing nightmares all around the world.
- The photo was posted on Saturday to a Facebook group called Tasmanian Insects and Spiders by a woman named Justine Latton.
- Latton told INSIDER that her husband snapped the picture while on a ski trip with some friends in Mount Field, Tasmania. The photo shows a giant huntsman spider eating a pygmy possum, a small marsupial found in the Asia Pacific region.
- And while pygmy possums are not usually a huntsman’s meal of choice, Latton says the spider may have just seen an opportunity too good to pass up.
A photo of a giant spider eating a small possum has gone viral, inducing nightmares all around the world.
The huntsman spider, commonly found in Australia and other parts of the world, typically has a 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) body and a leg span of up to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters), though larger species can have a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters). Its namesake comes from the way it hunts and kills its prey instead of using a web like other spider species.
And while huntsman spiders are venomous, they are not considered to be dangerous to humans and their diet consists mainly of insects and other invertebrates, and occasionally small lizards.
The photo first surfaced on Saturday on a Facebook group called Tasmanian Insects and Spiders, and was posted by a woman named Justine Latton.
Latton told INSIDER that the photo was taken by her husband Adam a few weeks ago when he and some friends were staying at a ski lodge in Mount Field, Tasmania, located about 55 miles (90 kilometers) northwest of the capital Hobart.
“It was one of the biggest huntsman spiders he’d ever seen,” she said, likening its size to “an adult’s palm.”
The most disturbing part of the photo is the huntsman’s catch of the day — a pygmy possum, a type of small marsupial endemic to Australia and other parts of Asia Pacific.
And while pygmy possums are not usually a huntsman’s snack of choice, Latton says the spider may have just seen an opportunity too good to pass up.
“Pygmy possums are quite common up there, we reckon the spider probably just saw an opportunity and went for it,” she said, adding that it was about the size of a large walnut.
Latton said her husband and friends caught the spider and its prey and released it outdoors.
“No spiders were harmed in the relocation effort,” she said.
Latton said that she was surprised by the response to her photo, which garnered over 7,200 shares on Facebook by Wednesday local time.
“I didn’t imagine it would cause such a media maelstrom,” she said.
And while Latton acknowledged that some travelers might be put off by the photo, she told INSIDER that the photo captured a “very rare occurrence” and encouraged people to visit Tasmania.
“Tassie is gorgeous!” she said, though I’m still not convinced.