According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a rare spider migration event has Australians running for cover indoors. Millions of baby spiders have shown up in the skies above the Southern Tablelands near the Australian Outback and are covering peoples’ homes and property with their silky webs trailing behind.
This video shows the spiders falling from the sky, followed by a gossamer-thin web used as a parachute. The spiders climb high into the trees each year and take to the skies to relocate, according to local amateur scientist Keith Basterfield. Residents describe the scene as if the baby spiders had taken over their homes, with swarms of web-bearing spiders extending hundreds of feet into the sky.
The webs look beautiful, but they can cause a serious headache for property owners in their paths. Residents report that they were unable to go outside during the baby spider rainstorm without becoming entangled in the delicate webs. Those with beards in particular felt the wrath of the migrating baby spiders and their webs.
According to Martyn Robinson from the Australian Museum, the spiders were migrating using a technique called “ballooning,” where they climb into the treetops and let their silky streamer of spider web catch the wind and parachute them off to a new location. Robinson says that spiders have been observed ballooning up to three kilometers in altitude, and can travel across oceans to reach new continents with the method.
The migration event typically lasts only about 30 minutes, and the webs are washed away with the first rain following the migration. Floods can often induce the event as spiders search for higher ground, resulting in complex networks of silk roads leading the baby spiders to safety. For Southern Australian residents, this rare event made it look like it had actually started raining baby spiders. You can see for yourself what the event looks like here: