An area in Australia recently experienced perhaps the worst nightmare for those who suffer from arachnophobia. Millions of baby spiders were seemingly raining down from the sky in Southern Tablelands, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The paper said some locals wondered earlier this month if the area about a three-hour drive from Sydney had been “invaded” by spiders as webs fell from the sky and covered entire houses and fields.
“The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings,” said local resident Ian Watson about his home, according to the Morning Herald. “And when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred meters into the sky.” In a statement puzzling to the aforementioned people with arachnophobia, Watson called the phenomenon beautiful. There were some drawbacks, however.
A Goulburn resident posted this message on a community Facebook page after he experienced an Angel Hair event first hand
“But at the same time I was annoyed because … you couldn’t go out without getting spider webs on you. And I’ve got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard,” he told the Morning Herald. Watson posted his sighting to Facebook and others in the area backed up seeing the same thing.
Martyn Robinson, a naturalist from the Australian Museum, offered an explanation for why locals might have thought spiders were raining from the sky. Spiders, especially babies, often use a technique called ballooning, where they climb to the top of vegetation and release a stream of silk that allows them to be carried in the air, Robinson told the Morning Herald. Mass migrations of baby spiders lead to the “angel hair” phenomenon, which can cover entire areas in spider webs.
The blanket of silk covering the Southern Tablelands generally disappeared by the time morning hit because of cold overnight temperatures, according to the Daily Mail. Spiders often travel great distances with the ballooning method and have been seen flying more than 1.8 miles above the ground, Robinson told the Morning Herald. An Australian retiree who tracks angel hair events pleaded for locals to reach out. He has since heard from two residents describing their experiences.
Angel Hair is reportedly a migration technique that spiders have used to travel across the world.
The event can sometimes lead to entire fields and paddocks wreathed with a thin blanket of the silk.
South Australian retiree Keith Basterfield became infatuated with the phenomenon after receiving an eerie image of an Albury paddock adorned with the silk.
‘I was given this picture of a paddock in Albury from the 1970’s. I found it fascinating and decided to document other instances.’
When Basterfield got word of the Angel Hair event in Goulburn this month, he made an appeal to for any observers to contact him.
‘Three people contacted me to say they had seen the phenomenon, but none of them captured any images. They were probably too scared to move!
He said the blanket of silk has generally disappeared by the morning after being exposed to cold temperatures overnight.
An Albury farm draped in a layer of Angel Hair shows the extent of the bizarre natural phenomenon
Angel Hair is a migration method that spiders have used to move across the world
Basterfield said that no harmful spiders ever engage in the event and that the spiders quickly disperse when the weather warms up