Thursday 8 December 2016

Millions of tiny spiders rain down on Australian town

Published 18/05/2015 | 13:29

Millions of tiny spiders recently fell from the sky in Australia, alarming residents of a small town who suddenly found themselves covered in the creepy critters.

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Such a scene might seem the stuff of nightmares, however, there is a perfectly natural explanation to strange phenomenon.

This month's eight-legged downpour in the country's Southern Tablelands region is just the most recent example of an event commonly known as 'spider rain'.

The phenomenon, dubbed 'angel hair' by some, sees spiders climb to the top of plants and trees and leap off, using a streamer of silk to catch the breeze and carry themselves into the air.

The event can sometimes lead to entire fields and towns covered in a thin blanket of the silk.

Scientists believe the  technique - known as ballooning – is what has allowed arachnids to colonise virtually every continent on Earth.

The explain though is likely cold comfort for the residents of Goulburn in New South Wales who awoke to the sun being almost blotted out when thousands of baby spiders rained down from the sky.

Resident Ian Watson told the Sydney Morning Herald that his house had been "abandoned and taken over by spiders".

"The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred metres into the sky."

"It was beautiful. 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."

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