Massive Huntsman Spider Caught Eating Pygmy Possum in 'Once in a Lifetime' Photo

A lucky photographer caught a large spider sinking its fangs into an unusual meal in Tasmania, Australia.

Justine Latton shared pictures on social media of a huntsman spider apparently attempting to eat a small pygmy possum at a property in the Australian island state's Mount Field national park.

She published the images—taken by her husband, Adam—on the "Tasmanian Insects and Spiders" Facebook group, where the post quickly accrued more than 6,600 shares.

Huntsman, Pygmy Possum
Spider, Huntsman, Possum

Latton told Newsweek her husband took the pictures a few weeks ago while he was staying at a lodge with a few friends. "Pygmy possums are quite common up there, we reckon the spider probably just saw an opportunity and went for it," she said, adding it was one of the largest huntsman spiders her husband had ever seen.

The group had to catch the creature, which was hanging from the door, in order to leave the room. They then released it back into the wild. "No spiders were harmed in the relocation effort," Latton said. But it was unfortunately "too late" to save the possum, which was about the size of a walnut.

Australia Museum arachnology collection manager, Graham Milledge, told The Guardian the event was "fairly rare" in an article published Tuesday. "It's the first time I've seen a pygmy possum as prey," he added.

Huntsman spiders are members of the Sparassidae family. Outside of Australasia, various species are found in Asia, the Americas, Africa and the Mediterranean basin.

Some huntsman spiders, also known as giant crab spiders, are found in warmer parts of the U.S., including Texas, Alabama, California and Mississippi, according to the Texas Invasive Species Institute.

huntsman spider, possum
File photo: A huntsman spider is pictured on the trunk of a tree.

Charles Darwin University conservation biology professor, John Woinarski, told The Guardian the possum was likely an eastern pygmy possum—a small creature whose body can grow from 2.75 inches to 4.3 inches long.

Many users were amazed by the impressive photo. User Emma Powell commented: "OMG what a once in a lifetime photo opportunity .... I would be so freaking excited if I were lucky enough to witness this ... not scary at all just interesting and such a mystery to how this all went down."

User Jenni Dakota-Beau McNamee added: "Even though it's just a pygmy possum it's still impressive the huntsman got him."

But arachnophobes reeled at the spider's hunting prowess. "OMG....stuff of nightmares!" wrote Jill Kilburn.

"Holy sh*t. Nope," added user Kylie Marsden.

Some users questioned the photograph's authenticity. Morigen Sabourenkov commented: "This looks set up. Both of them are dead, right? Are huntsmen even capable of biting through that? Les alone the spider web coming out of it's back?"

But others were quick to emphasize the huntsman's impressive fangs. "I've been bitten by a huntsman. They have huge fangs," wrote user Missy Abbott."

In August 2016, Facebook user Jason Womal shared a video of a similar spider dragging what appeared to be a dead mouse around his neighbor's kitchen.

So I am just about to leave for work about 0030 and me neighbour says "You want to see something cool" and I say "Hell yeah". So we proceed to his place and he shows me this. Huntsman trying to eat a mouse. For Licensing/usage, please contact licensing@viralhog.com

Posted by Jason Womal on Saturday, October 22, 2016

"So I am just about to leave for work about 0030 and me neighbor says, 'You want to see something cool?'" Womal wrote alongside the clip. "I say, 'Hell yeah.' So we proceed to his place and he shows me this. Huntsman trying to eat a mouse"

This article has been updated with comment from Justine Latton.