Images show spiderwebs around the world, not all found in Australia

·3 min read

A set of ten pictures of spiderwebs has been shared in a Facebook post claiming to show “spider season” in Australia. However, the claim is partly false: although some of the images were taken in Australia, others were taken elsewhere, including in Texas and Pakistan.

The photos were published in a Facebook post on April 27, 2022. More than 3,700 people have shared the post, which is accompanied by ten images showing trees, fields, and a picnic table covered by thick layers of spiderwebs.

“It's not snow, it's just the spider season in Australia,” the caption reads.

Screenshot taken on April 28, 2022, showing the Facebook post

The same set of pictures has been shared in different blogs and other social media posts, all referring to Australia.

But in reality, only some of the images were taken in Australia while others are unrelated to the country.

Images from outside Australia

AFP Fact Check ran a reverse image search on the first picture and found that the image shows Lake Tawakoni in the US state of Texas. It was taken on August 15, 2007, by Donna Garde, the superintendent of Lake Tawakoni State Park in Texas.

The Facebook image showing a giant spiderweb in Texas

Similarly, we traced another image showing a giant web with two uniformed men in the background to the same Lake Tawakoni State Park. The picture by photographer Tom Pennington was taken on August 29, 2007, and uploaded to Getty Images.

“Lake Tawokoni State Park rangers Mike McCord, left, and Freddie Gowinn continue to monitor a giant communal spider web at the park Tuesday, August 29, 2007 in Wills Point, Texas,” the caption reads.

Screenshot of the photo on Getty Images

A search for an image showing two trees next to a river found that it was cropped from a larger version that appeared on the National Geographic website in March 2011. It was taken by Russell Watkins, an aid worker with the UK Department for International Development.

Screenshot of the image on National Geographic's website

The incident occurred in 2010 when massive floods in the Pakistani province of Sindh drove millions of spiders and possibly other insects into the trees to escape the rising floodwaters, leaving the trees covered with silk, according to National Geographic.

As for the image of cobwebs along a fence, we traced it to a stock photo site, where it is credited to a Canadian photographer, but with no mention of the photograph's location. We have reached out to the photographer for comment and will update if we receive a reply.

Screenshot of the image on Alamy's website

Images from Australia

The remaining pictures are from Australia, as claimed in the Facebook post.

An image of cobwebs covering an field with a truck in the background was featured in a 2015 report by Australian online platform news.com.au about the country’s mysterious “spider rain”.

Screenshot of the image on the news.com.au site

Four images taken by Leslie Schmidt in Australia were published on the website of British newspaper Daily Mail. Schmidt told the newspaper that she took the images on July 10, 2016, while playing Pokémon Go in Yinnar, in Australia's Victoria state.

Screenshots of the four photos taken by Leslie Schmidt

During periods of high rainfall or flooding, spiders often seek higher ground and can travel across entire oceans using a method called ballooning. The phenomenon has been witnessed multiple times in Australia, as reported by National Geographic in 2015 and 2012.

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