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Photo captures 'horrifying' moment spider devours snake: 'New fear unlocked'

A tourist spotted the incredible scenes while visiting Australia and was shocked by what he saw.

In what can only be described as “the most Australian thing ever”, a giant spider has been caught on camera devouring a snake stuck in its web in Far North Queensland.

Mitch Blake, who runs the tourist park in Millaa Millaa, told Yahoo News Australia that a tourist made the discovery in one of the gardens.

“I had an American guy staying here that came into the office one morning who said, ‘I just saw the most Australian thing ever’, and told me where it was. I sort of went expecting it to be a gecko, not a snake, but yeah, it looked like a Golden Orb Weaving spider had caught a baby green tree snake that night and already had a bit of a snack near his tail.”

The baby green tree snake caught in the Golden Orb Weaving spider's web.
Mitch Blake said he was shocked to find a baby green tree snake caught in the Golden Orb Weaving spider's web. Source: Supplied

In a series of images, the reptile’s body can be seen twisted in the web, while the spider appears to be tucking into the snake. While Blake is disappointed that he didn’t catch the action on camera.

“I would’ve loved to have gotten a video of the fight,” he said. “The spider is missing a leg from it by the looks [of it].”

‘Suck it out like a smoothie’

While Golden Orb Weaving spiders are known for making tough webs, even Michael Kasumovic, an Associate Professor and Evolutionary Biology at the University of NSW, was surprised that the spider was able to take out a snake.

“If something large tries to get through the web, it usually will break through the web rather than actually getting stuck in there,” he told Yahoo News Australia. “But it seems that unfortunately this spider was just that large and built that strong of a web and that the snake was just small enough that it wasn't heavy enough to break through that, so when it fell in there, the spider just caught it and did its thing.”

Which is to take a big bite of its prey.

“Usually what spiders do, is as soon as something falls in the web they just kind of tie it down and let it lose its energy a bit and then when it's a little bit safe, it comes on in there and bites it and then once it does, that's kind of game over for any kind of organism stuck in there," Kasumovic said.

A Golden Orb Weaving spider in a web.
Australia Museum said Golden Orb Weaving spiders can sometimes trap small birds and bats in their webs. Source: Australian Museum

“It'll inject venom in there and that venom will slowly degrade the inside of the snake and slowly liquefy it, and then the spider will just kind of suck it out like a smoothie.”

The only danger now is that the spider is at risk of overeating.

“Spiders don't usually catch prey items that are this large," the Associate Professor explained. "So when they get a windfall like this, sometimes they can overeat and that means they can die from overeating.”

‘New fear unlocked’

Since uploading the images to Facebook, Blake’s post has gone viral, racking up more than 12,000 reactions from many horrified viewers who likened the size of the spider to an infant.

“This is what my nightmares look like,” one person wrote. “I would die if I saw anything like this,” said another, while someone else simply wrote, “new fear unlocked”.

However, not all Facebook users were afraid, with many praising the spider for its “amazing strength”. “What an incredible job,” one person wrote. “What a talented spider!” said another.

Blake went on to explain that the local arachnid’s often have a leg span “bigger than your hand”, that the abdomen is “normally about the size of your thumb”, and “their legs sit at about 180-200mm diameter.”

“They’re strong enough that I wasn’t totally taken aback when I found it, but I still kinda thought a snake would be strong enough to get out. The orb weaver is just quick to the bite I suppose.”

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