Filmed in Papamoa, New Zealand, Tracy Maris and her family were visiting the Gordon Pratt Reserve on the Easter break when they spotted the incredible sight.
“The web started at the top of the mound which is up above the soccer fields,” she said. “It went almost right down to Papamoa College. I read an article about the same kind of thing a few years back where a whole heap of spiders created the same effect to escape flooding.”
When moving in for a closer look, much to their horror, Tracy and her family realised that the webs for covered in thousands of tiny spiders.
“We thought surely there are no spiders inside that,” she said. “We walked further up and our feet started getting stuck in the cobwebs, and then we noticed little black things on top.”
The phenomenon is not something simply out of an arachnophobes’ worst nightmare however, and actually has a legitimate explanation. The phenomenon is most likely caused by what is known as ‘ballooning’, and would have occurred when spiders fled a nearby area due to flooding. When a large number of spiders flee an area simultaneously, you get the scary effect seen in the video.
“What a lot of people don’t realise is a pasture is full of spiders munching away on things, and what they tend to do is move around by releasing a drag line of silk to help them in case they fall,” said museum curator and spider expert Cor Vink.