If you live in an area where there is flooding, you know that you have to get up and move your family away at times. However, we often don't think about how animals are going to get out - and if we were to think about animals, it probably wouldn't be a spider. Still, spiders in Australia seem to have found their own way out of the flooding, they simply cover everything they can in a thick layer of webbing so that they can climb over the rising waters.
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Launceston, Tasmania has been covered by a thick layer of webbing according to some pretty crazy photos that have been released.
According to locals, as the area started to flood pretty seriously, thousands of the tiny arachnids took to the highest points that they could get to, which just turned out to be trees. Thankfully they stuck pretty much to the outskirts of the city.
Once they were there, they coated an area almost 800 meters long in a thick covering of web.
When resident Ken Puccetti took the crazy photo above, he said, "My shoes, legs and arms became covered in webs and I had to brush a number of small spiders off."
It turns out that the spiders weren't plotting some massive takeover, they really just started to work together so that they could save themselves. It actually has been seen before - if they sense danger or aren't getting what they need, they will create these giant webs so that everyone can move.
"It’s a way of dispersing – their way of flying, if you like," said Graham Milledge, collection manager in arachnology at the Australian Museum, to the Sydney Morning Herald. "Spiders are the major insect predator in the environment and events like this show people just how many spiders there are out there."
While it might be pretty scary to think about, we do need them here. There is a tendency in spiders to do this, but they are so small that we don't usually notice.
This isn't even the first time that it has happened. In 2015, baby spiders started to fall from the sky in Australia. Just earlier this year, spiders formed a large net to hunt for insects.
Now you might think that simple moving from web to web over trees isn't the best way to escape an area with flooding and rain - that wasn't what they planned.
As Michael Greshko from National Geographic explains: "In fact, the sheets of silk coating Launceston’s trees may reflect spiders’ previous failed attempts at ballooning away from the flooding."
"[When faced with] favourable conditions - perhaps warm ground temperatures, which could generate updrafts - the spiders would have tried to send out their ballooning threads at more or less the same time. However, unexpectedly strong breezes could have then blown these threads back down onto the trees repeatedly, eventually creating a tangled mat."
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So they didn't even succeed in their escape. Thankfully, the water is currently going down.