Spider “Ballooning” Turns an Entire Field into a Giant Spider Web

How about this for some horrific nightmare fuel: Imagine going outside one day and noticing that a nearby hill is gleaming in the sunlight. When you investigate closer up, you realize that the gleam is, in fact, coming from a humongous web of gossamer that’s being produced by thousands of baby spiders.

Go ahead, take a moment to imagine all of the baby spiders.This skin-crawling daydream really did happen to a woman in Papamoa, New Zealand recently. The weird ethereal web is actually an example of a super sweet little escape trick called ballooning–a trick so cool, it’s a travesty Spider-Man hasn’t used it yet.

SunLive reported on the incredible footage of the wavy web that was captured by Tracey Maris. Maris told SunLive that she found a “new tsunami evacuation hill [Papamoa is a coastal suburb]… covered in spider web.” The web had a surface area of about 30 meters and was “so sticky.”

As The Sydney Morning Herald points out in its version of the video, the spiders are ballooning, or essentially climbing up onto something high, aiming their abdomens toward the sky, and then firing strings of gossamer out of their spinnerets—which are not, for the record, their anuses—in order to take advantage of wind energy and create lift for themselves. Once they have enough lift, they ride like Richard Branson on the wind to safety!

Although this tactic is utilized by spiders in order to flee from flooding, check out the 1909 short To Demonstrate How Spiders Fly by F. Percy Smith (above), which demonstrates ballooning with a mechanical spider; maybe this could be like a city-to-city transport thing for Spidey. Remember, in Spider-Man’s case this would be coming out of his hands. For your own psychic safety, do not imagine it the other way. 


What do you think about spiders and their ballooning capabilities? Would this be the coolest way for Spider-Man to get around — if he shot this out of his hands?! Let us know in the comments below!

Images:  The Sydney Morning Herald/YouTube

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