Looking out the window of her Queensland home, Ronda Cooper couldn't believe her eyes. "I was kind of shocked. I thought 'OMG my worst nightmare has come true'," she told Yahoo News Australia.
Attached to a branch on a large tree was a perfectly round and humongous spider web hanging all the way down to the ground, which appears to be at least a couple of metres wide. Unable to believe it, Ronda, who moved to Australia four years ago, shared a photo on Facebook, but she "didn't expect" the response it got — more than 16,000 'likes' and over 30,000 shares.
Ronda told Yahoo she was "petrified" by the potential size of the spider that made the web, and while thousands more Aussies agreed, some weren't convinced. The post attracted some sceptics who believed the photo's an "optical illusion," seemingly in denial of its size.
Homeowner shuts down critics
"Taken through a window. The web is just outside the window," one person theorised in the comments. "Spiderweb is close up. The rest isn’t," said another. But Ronda assured Yahoo that's not the case.
Photos shared with Yahoo show the view of her tree from inside her home — and it's not the view from which the photo shared online was taken.
"I saw it through my window and thought no way can that be that big," she explained. "I had to go outside and take a picture just to scare my family back home in America.
"Aussie friends commented on how huge it was," she added. "I was in awe at how beautiful it was".
Size of spider web is pretty common, experts say
The experts agree it's a pretty normal-sized web from what's believed a garden orb weaving spider. "It's not an unusually big web" Arachnologist Dr Volker Framenau from Murdoch University, told Yahoo. In fact, "these spiders do this regularly".
"What is astonishing is, that they generally build their web new every night and take it down before dawn. Finding one during the day is rather unusual and seems to indicate that the spider has abandoned the web or has died," he said, adding these webs aren't seen that often but people can walk into them at night.
Professor Sasha Mikheyev from ANU agreed saying "these webs can be well over a metre in diameter". "The web looks perfectly normal in size to me," Dr Michael Rix from Queensland museum told Yahoo.
Spider species known for 'suspended, sticky, wheel-shaped orb webs'
The group of spiders — which, aside from having a painful bite, are mostly harmless to humans — have over 100 known species in Australia, and are known for their "suspended, sticky, wheel-shaped orb webs," according to the Australian Museum.
"Webs are placed in openings between trees and shrubs where insects are likely to fly," the website reads. "The Garden Orb Weavers build large, strong, vertical orb webs".
This particular web was incredibly strong, Ronda noted. "Even rain and wind didn't destroy it as it blew like a tarp or sheet in the wind and held strong," she said.
Social media freaks out over giant web
Although "terrifying" Ronda saw it as a "work of art". Many agreed they'd never seen a spider web quite so big. "I would be moving," one person joked.
"Australia gets all the fun stuff," said another, who appears to be American. "This is why I'd never go to Australia," someone else revealed.
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