Tech. Science. Culture.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Have You Ever Wondered What A Four-Acre Spiderweb Looks Like?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

No? Really? Oh. Well, since you're here, it looks like this.

Question: What's creepier than a four-acre spiderweb?

Answer: Whatever the hell weaves a four-acre spiderweb. In this particular instance, the answer is "a Metric Sh*tTon," and/or "an Imperial Sh*tLoad" of spiders. Those aren't my units, by the way; I borrowed them from entomologist and bug-blogger Gwen Pearson, who recently provided some background on the photo (and some more precise numerical figures) over at Wired:

The Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put out a call for "extreme spider" help in 2009, when a giant spiderweb covered almost 4 acres of their facility. Scientists eventually estimated over 107 million spiders were living in the structure, with densities of 35,176 spiders per m³ in spots.

...The scientists described their estimate of 35,176 spiders/m³ as "markedly conservative" and "representing a minimum volume" of spiders, by the way.


The scientists catalog the web and its extensiveness in some detail, in "An Immense Concentration of Orb-Weaving Spiders With Communal Webbing in a Man-Made Structural Habitat." The report can be found here. It includes such descriptive gems as this one:

In places where the plant workers had swept aside the webbing to access equipment, the silk lay piled on the floor in rope-like clumps as thick as a fire hose.


Emphasis mine, because, despite having a soft spot for spiders, reading that still made me squirm.

[Wired via FrankN.Stein]