Warning: This video of a spider dragging an opossum may be disturbing to some viewers.
A tarantula the size of a dinner plate attacked and killed an opossum in a video captured by researchers that looks like a scene from a horror movie.
Researchers from the University of Michigan shared the video on Thursday along with a paper in “Amphibian & Reptile Conservation” describing the bizarre encounter.
In November of 2016, the team “heard some scrabbling in the leaf litter” during a night survey in the Amazon rainforest, Michael Grundler at University of Michigan said. He and his colleagues then watched a tarantula attack a mouse opossum, striking it in its neck, according to the report. A five-minute struggle ensued, where the opossum, roughly the size of a softball, tried to kick away from the eight-legged insect. The spider ultimately won. Video shows the spider then dragging the opossum away.
The American Museum of Natural History told University of Michigan researchers this is likely the first time a large spider of this kind was ever recorded preying on an opossum.
“We were pretty ecstatic and shocked, and we couldn’t really believe what we were seeing,” Grundler said in a statement.
Warning: Readers might find the below image disturbing.
The paper, which includes observations from 2008 to 2017, also reports large spiders attacking frogs and a lizard. Another frightening sight: A team watched a large centipede eat a live snake, and another centipede eating a dead coral snake it decapitated.
“Coral snakes are very dangerous and can kill humans,” study co-author Joanna Larson, a University of Michigan doctoral candidate, said in a statement. “To see one taken down by an arthropod was very surprising. Those centipedes are terrifying animals, actually.”
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