A man staying at a ski lodge in Tasmania, Australia had the scare of his life when he witnessed a massive huntsman spider devour a tiny possum.
The man’s wife, Justine Latton shared photos of the horrifying moment on Facebook, which show the spider clinging on to the hotel door with the tiny possum in its mouth.
Justine tells PEOPLE her husband Adam was staying at a “very rustic” ski lodge at Mount Field National Park in Tasmania’s South West with some friends when the incident took place.
She explains that pygmy possums are “quite common” in the area and that the spider “probably just saw an opportunity and went for it.”
“It was one of the biggest huntsman spiders he’d ever seen,” Justine says of her husband, adding that “Tasmanian pygmy possums are the smallest of the pygmy possums.”
“This one was about the size of a large walnut,” Justine says.
Making the encounter all the more frightening, Justine notes that the possum was a very unlikely prey for the spider.
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“Huntsman spiders will sometimes take a small lizard or frog, but mammals are not their usual diet,” she says. “They most often eat other spiders and insects.”
As for what happened after Adam took the photo, Justine says the spider and the possum had to be caught and released outside “in order to open the door.”
The spider was not harmed in the process. However, it was too late for the possum as it had already died, Justine says.
Justine’s post quickly went viral with hundreds of social media users expressing fear over the sighting.
“Omg… stuff of nightmares,” one wrote in the comment section of Justine’s post.
Another social media user marveled over the sighting commenting, “What a once in a lifetime photo opportunity… I would be so freaking excited if I were lucky enough to witness this!”
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“I didn’t imagine it would cause such a media maelstrom,” Justine says.
Despite their chilling appearance, huntsman spiders are not considered to be dangerous, according to the Australian Museum.
Still, like most arthropods, huntsman spiders possess venom and if bitten, a person may experience “ill effects,” according to the museum.
The museum states that the spiders are, however, reluctant to bite and will usually “run away rather than be aggressive.”