Creepy cobwebs blanket Australian bush as millions of spiders flee floods – and forecasters warn MORE rain is on the way
A CREEPY blanket of cobwebs covering shrubs, grass and road signs in Australia has been dubbed a "spider apocalypse" amid heavy rain and flooding in Victoria.
With more rain forecast this week, it is thought the creepy crawlies could continue to spin the spooky veil across the countryside in a bid to escape floodwaters.
The raised webs show the spider's attempts to flee the floodwaters and seek refuge on higher ground in Gippsland, Victoria.
The southeastern state has been ravaged by heavy rain and strong winds, forcing thousands to evacuate.
Parts of the region were closed last week after the rain left residents without power and further 15 to 25mm is expected to fall.
Local reports suggest the phenomenon is known as ballooning, where cooler weather conditions have prompted spiders to cover stretches of land in cloudlike cobwebs to try and shelter themselves from wet conditions.
Despite the eerie images of the spooky blanket webs, one local, whose town is covered in them is delighted to welcome the creepy crawlies.
Darren McCubbin from Longford, Victoria told Australia's breakfast show, Today: "It's absolutely fantastic to meet you from the capital of spider city.
"Millions of spiders have got these gossamer webs and surrounded the town. They're everywhere, on street signs, in trees, on the bushes."
Mr McCubbin said people are flooding into the town to capture the natural phenomenon.
"There are people stopping by the side of the road," he said.
"It's going off here in Longford, as we are the spider capital of Australia.
"The town has spent thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign called the 'Middle of Everywhere', but it takes a million spiders coming out of the swamp and suddenly people swamp into your town.
"You could sell T-shirts by the side of the road."
Professor Dieter Hochuli from the University of Sydney determined the insects were sheetweb spiders and said the behaviour was not unusual after floods.
"They build a web that is a little bit different to the ones we're more familiar with, like orb webs, their ones are flat and the spiders often live between two layers of webbing," he told 7 News.
"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."
Last March, the critters invaded towns in New South Wales, not just in the countryside but swarming fence posts, streetlights and the sides of homes as they also fled floods.
Arachnids are even clambering up people's legs in a bid to escape record-breaking downpours, witnesses told the Guardian.
Shenae and Steve Varley said that spiders covered the "entire length of the railing" at Penrith weir in western Sydney on Sunday.
"There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets – all just trying to get away from the flood waters," Shenae said.
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