By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A brave Aussie dad was stunned to spot a wolf spider holding a gecko double its size in its fangs.
Dan Ryan was ushering his three children to the car when he glimpsed the ‘enormous’ wolf spider with the lizard dangling from its fangs on his fence in Brisbane, Australia last Saturday [Feb 24].
The town planner first thought the horrifying sight was a stick and leaf but then realised the arachnid had pierced the reptile’s neck with its fangs and was injecting it with venom, slowly killing it.
Dan said despite being much bigger, the defeated lizard had no choice but to hang lifelessly from its eight-legged captor’s fangs as the spider patiently waited for its dinner to die.
The 35-year-old was told by wife Vicki, also 35, to take a picture because it was ‘the most bizarre and creepy thing’ the pair had ever seen near their suburban home.
Wolf spiders usually feast on insect prey such as crickets, ants and other spiders and are rarely seen hunting prey so large.
Dan said: “From afar, I thought it was a stick and a leaf, but when I got near it, I saw the huge spider with a gecko hanging from its mouth.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was incredible – but also really creepy.
“I quickly ran back to the kids and shielded their eyes and told them to get in the car.
“I didn’t want them to see it as they’re all under six and just too young. It would scare them.
“Not only the spider but the fact that there was a dead gecko hanging from its fangs. It was just so weird.
“I had to get up really close to take the photos and I was a bit scared it might jump on me.
“I’ve never seen a gecko being killed by a spider like that, and it’s quite shocking because the gecko was longer in length.
“But obviously this spider went after bigger prey and won.
“I guess the spider eventually dragged the gecko away to eat it. I never saw it again.”
According to the Australasian Arachnology Society, wolf spiders can be found all around Australia and should be considered dangerous because their bite is poisonous – although not lethal to humans.
Wolf spiders are solo opportunistic hunters that pounce upon their prey as they find it and will even chase it over short distances.
Sometimes the arachnids will even wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow – which Dan believed is what might have happened in this case.
He added: “The fence paling is dislodged, so I think the spider was hiding in there, and when the gecko came past he grabbed it.
“It didn’t have a web. It looked like it has been lurking and hiding.
“We live in a really leafy area and there are always different sorts of creatures around and we’ve seen plenty of snakes and spiders. But nothing quite like this.
“When we returned back home, I went to have a look and it was gone.
“I don’t like to interfere with anything or kill spiders. We just let nature take its course.
“I wouldn’t say I’m scared of spiders, but I don’t particularly like them.”