Australia Experiences Unusual Spider Rain

The town of Goulburn, Australia, is not the place to live if you have arachnophobia. This small town in New South Wales in the Southern Tablelands area, recently experienced a phenomenon known as “spider rain.”

Small Towns Inundated With Tiny Spiders

Tiny spiders by the millions fell from the sky and their webs covered the ground like snow. Spider rain is also known as “angel hair” to many, due to the silky spider webs left behind when the spiders vacate.

Residents in the area were forced to dodge the gossamer and pick it out of their hair, facial hair included. Spider webs are known to be among the strongest materials on earth, being stronger than Kevlar, tougher than steel, and usually sticky. Aside from using it to rain down on unsuspecting humans, spiders use their webs as lining for nests, as well as cocoons and nets to catch prey.

Spider Rain Not that Unusual

A retired arachnologist from the University of California at Riverside, Rick Vetter, states that this spider rain is a type of spider transportation called ballooning. It is a way they use to travel longer distances than they could by walking or jumping. It’s just that most of the time, people don’t notice it because it doesn’t normally happen in such huge numbers as it did in Goulburn last week.

Spider rain, or spider ballooning, takes place in the Australian Outback in spring and autumn, August and May, down under. Baby spiders are born and need to find new homes. University of Akron Ohio biology professor, Todd Blackledge explains that the spiders find themselves a nice high spot, put their fannies in the air and begin spinning. Soon enough, a breeze comes along and catches the silk balloon and carries the spider away. Sometimes, they can travel for miles this way in their spider rain.

What makes this occurrence unusual is that so many spiders decided to go at one time says Blackledge. He stated that it is probably because weather conditions hadn’t been just right for some time, and when it was, they all decided to go at once. Having taken off about the same time, they all apparently got caught up in the same weather pattern that dumped them all in the same place at once, causing the unusually heavy spider rain.

Although the spider rain may be disconcerting to many, Blackledge and Vetter both say that it doesn’t causes any harm, other than to crops that may get too covered in the silk so that they don’t get any sunlight. Australia may have several species of venomous spiders, but these baby spiders are probably not any of those. Even if they were, they are too small to bite. So, no worries, well…unless you have arachnophobia.

To see more images of raining spiders, click here!