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Terrifying: Large Tarantula Devours a Foot-long Snake

Jan 11, 2017 04:48 AM EST
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For the first time ever, scientists from Brazil observed a large species of tarantula devouring a foot-long non-venomous snake in the wild.

The terrifying sight, described in a paper published in Herpetology Notes, was observed by graduate student Leandro Malta Borges, of Federal University of Santa Maria, last October 31, 2015 while he and his colleagues were browsing through Serra do Caverá, a grassland southern Brazil.

"It is very gratifying to contribute to this record, since, as far as we know, there are only cases documented from situations in captivity," said Borges, in a report from the National Geographic.

Borges noted that it is not the first time that a tarantula is seen eating a snake. However, previous observations of snake-eating tarantula occurred in a laboratory setting and closely regulated by researchers. Tarantulas are known to eat anything, as long as they can grab and overpower their prey. Researchers previously observed tarantulas eating vipers, small mouse, frogs and lizards.

The tarantula described in the new paper belongs to a large species called Grammostola quirogai. The researchers found the tarantula while it munches in the front and middle region of a foot-long specimen of Erythrolamprus almadensis.

The researchers wrote on their paper that the snake most likely accidentally wandered in the territory of the tarantula. Many tarantula species, especially sedentary females, were known to hide in the rocks. It is still unknown how the snake was killed. However, the researchers believe that the tarantula utilized its 0.8 inch-long fangs.

Grammostola quirogai is a large species of tarantula that is distributed from extreme southern Brazil to Uruguay. First described in 2015 by Laura Montes de Oca, Guillermo D' Elia and Fernando Pérez-Miles, the G. quirogai was named to honor Horacio Quiroga, an Uruguayan poet, playwright and master of short story writing. Quiroga was born in Salto , where the G. quirogai was registered.

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