Cobwebs cover Australian towns after spiders flee flooding

Residents of a rural region of Victoria, Australia, found their towns blanketed in cobwebs resulting from spiders fleeing from flood conditions.

Photos and videos captured in multiple towns in the Gippsland region show fields, homes and trees covered in blankets of spider silk.

“This is a surprisingly common phenomenon after floods,” Professor Dieter Hochuli, an ecologist from the University of Sydney, told 7News. “When we get these types of very heavy rains and flooding, these animals who spend their lives cryptically on the ground can’t live there anymore, and do exactly what we try to do — they move to the higher ground.”

The webs resulted from a phenomenon known as “ballooning,” which involves spiders using strands of silk to ride on gusts of wind.

“Simultaneous ballooning by thousands of spiderlings can result in a remarkable carpet of silk, called gossamer, covering shrubs or fields,” the Australian Museum’s website states.