The worst flooding in decades has forced around 18,000 people from their homes in eastern Australia—and millions of spiders are also on the move. New South Wales residents say swarms of millions of spiders trying to escape rising waters are heading for higher ground. Residents say the arachnids are climbing fences and walls and entering homes and outbuildings. There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets—all just trying to get away from the flood waters," Shenae Varley tells the Guardian. "My husband videoed it, because I was not going close to it. When he was standing still he had spiders climbing up his legs." Authorities say heavy rain has cut off dozens of communities and emergency services have carried out hundreds of rescues, the AP reports.
Kinchela Creek resident Matt Lovenfosse shared a video of swarms of spiders at his family's farm. He says other creatures are also trying to escape some of the worst flooding he has ever seen. "The trees are full of snakes," he tells CNN. "If you take the boat out over the paddock they swim towards it trying to get on something dry, same with the spiders." Arachnologist Lizzy Lowe says the spiders will be "doing their best to disperse" when the water recedes and people should try to avoid using insecticide on "native species trying to do their thing, trying to survive." The region has also been dealing with a plague of mice following a bumper grain harvest. Reuters reported last week that farmers were hoping for rain heavy enough to drown the rodents in their burrows. (Read more Australia stories.)