Last month, Australia was plagued with millions and millions of mice.
Now, millions of spiders have invaded the Australian countryside in a “spider apocalypse,” reports The Independent.
The spiders invaded Gippsland, an eastern region of Australia’s Victoria state, says CNN.
How did these massive spiderwebs form?
The carpets of cobwebs come from sheetweb spiders, reports Business Insider. Sheetweb spiders are nocturnal spiders that typically live underground. They can grow up to 6 inches in diameter and spin webs up to three feet long.
- This “gossamer effect” or “ballooning effect” occurs when spiders spin their webs together, says CNN.
- Each spider contributes only one thread of silk, says Business Insider, so each thread of the massive webs represents a single spider.
So far, the spiderwebs have covered trees, roads and fields. In one area, the webs stretch for more than half a mile, says Business Insider.
I, for one, welcome our new spider overlords. 🕷️— CSIRO (@CSIRO) June 16, 2021
The heavy rains in Victoria have led to millions of spiders weaving literal spiderweb sheets to escape the heavy rains in a process known as ballooning. 🕸️
📷: Lotje Mcdonald (lotjemcdonald63 on IG) pic.twitter.com/kchG5bdhiT
... but why are there so many spiders suddenly?
Victoria — the region with the spider infestation — has recently experienced serious floods. High winds and heavy rain storms triggered flash floods, reports Live Science. Residents evacuated to escape the floods that killed two people.
When residents returned, they found that local arachnids had also evacuated low ground to escape the water, says CNN. Some found the spiderwebs “beautiful” while others considered it a “spider apocalypse.”
- “This is a surprisingly common phenomenon after floods,” professor Dieter Hochul, from the University of Sydney, told CNN.
A similar phenomena occurred in Gippsland in 2013, says The Independent.
The region is still working to restore power to hundreds of homes and continue recovering from the floods, says CNN.
What will Australia have to deal with next?
- What’s coming in July for Australia? No one knows.