November 14, 2013 In the News
This looks like a peaceful farmhouse. It looks like a nearby field is softly draped in fog or snow. But the truth is actually terrifying: these lands have been completely taken over by millions and millions of Australian spiders. Fight the urge to burn your own house down as you read this.
Terrible flooding throughout Australia has caused more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes. Unfortunately, people weren’t the only ones evacuating. Australian spiders are also running for the hills, causing farmlands to be literally covered in their webs.
Reuters reports that the flooding has forced more than 8,000 Australian (human) residents from their homes in the city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. But for every temporarily displaced person, it appears several spiders have moved in to fill the void.
“What we’ve seen here is a type of wolf spider,” Owen Seeman, an arachnid expert at Queensland Museum, told Reuters. “They are trying to hide away (from the waters).”
The Australian Museum’s entomology collections manager Graham Milledge told Reuters that there’s even a term for the phenomenon, “ballooning,” and that it is typical behavior for spiders forced to escape rising waters.
You can watch a video here of researchers on the hunt for ballooning spiders from the safety of a hot air balloon.
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