Hundreds (maybe thousands) of spiders raining down from the sky might be taken by some as a terrifying sign for the end of times or at least a reenactment of the final scenes from “Charlotte’s Web” where her brood hatches and all but three scamper away from Wilber. But the real-life occurrence of such a phenomenon in Brazil is actually a natural event.
According to the video description — yes, nightmarish footage was captured showing such a scene — the spiders congregated between electrical poles in Santo Antonio de Plantina.
Wired spoke to University of British Columbia researcher, Leticia Aviles, who has knowledge about social spiders and said what is being observed in the video is “not really surprising.”
This doesn’t make what is going on here any less terrifying though, because Aviles said it is likely these spiders are hunting.
Wired reported University of Cincinnati arachnologist George Uetz saying that the spiders sit on the webs to capture prey.
So the spiders aren’t technically coming down. The web is fixed, according to Uetz, but because it is so fine, it appears to be invisible. He thinks it is a large colony of Parawixia bistriata.
Even still, the video footage is unsettling. Check it out:
Here’s a video showing a similar scene in Paraguay a couple years ago:
If it makes you feel any better, Wired reported that the venom of P. bistriata is not harmful to humans.
Check out more photos of P. bistriata, including up-close shots and a view of how fine the web is, on this Flickr page.