Austrailia – When there’s a cold blast in Florida, reports of raining iguanas start coming in from Miami as the reptiles go into suspended animation and fall from the trees.
That is quite the sight, but picture this — millions of tiny spiders raining from the sky.
While it can sound like something out of a horror movie, in Australia the transition from late summer to fall can trigger what is known to the locals as spider season. It’s kind of like our lovebug or mosquito season but is a little different.
Despite the well-known drought that often plagues Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, the land down under started 2022 entirely drought-free following record rainfall in November.
The massive continent does have a wet season falling from November to April, but Autumn which is March through May typically receives the most rain. For example, Sydney averages a little over five inches of rain a month during this time.
Flooding can trigger thousands of sheet-web weaver or money spiders to balloon from the ground to the sky often resembling snow to locals. The spiders balloon silk from their spinneret glands on their abdomen, which allows these arachnids to flee an area where they would die from the flooding rain. Wait, there’s more.
Once the spiders take flight, they have to find a new home, right? Sometimes they end up in human homes crawling through tiny crevices seeking shelter.
If that doesn’t sound appealing to you or the spider, there’s another more favorable option. They build a new home and oh what a web they weave.
Days after a flooding rain event, locals step outside and see what looks like snow draped on trees, poles, and even tall grasses. It’s actually spiderwebs and they can be quite large. Many residents have shared pictures of gossamer webs resembling sheets blowing in the wind. The webs can even blanket the ground for miles looking like snow along countryside roads. They’re not called sheet-web weavers for nothing.
While these tiny spiders are no threat to people, there are over 2,000 species worldwide. The spider snow event doesn’t just happen in Australia. Greece has seen their fair share of web art and it’s even happened right here in the United States.
Magnificent mega-webs have been spotted in Texas tree tops following heavy rain events. While the webs look, terrifying keep in mind these tiny arachnids mean no harm and are actually quite beneficial preying on bugs like grasshoppers, beetles and flies.