snow spiders canada

Canadian man discovers snowbank full of spiders and it's as terrifying as it sounds

It's a commonly-held belief among many in Canada that the only good thing about winter is the absence of insects and other annoying (or straight-up scary) creepy-crawly critters.

Video footage shared on Twitter last week by Lucas Bourque of southwestern Nova Scotia proves this contention dead wrong in the most horrifying of fashions... for arachnophobes, at least.

"A bunch of spiders in the snow," tweeted Bourque on March 8, sharing a photo and one short video clip of at least several dozen good-sized spiders covering a mound of snow outside his house.

After one of his followers suggested that the spiders were "snow fleas," Bourque replied with even more photos and a longer video showing the obvious spiders crawling all over the pile of snow in Argyle, Nova Scotia.

Some who saw the clips on Twitter were quick to say "NOPE," as many who read this article will likely be.

"Trust me after I took these clips I felt like I had them on me," said Bourque in response to one such reply. "Luckily that wasn’t the case."

"It did give me the heebee-jeebees, that's for sure," he told The Weather Network in an interview this week, noting that he was shocked by both the volume of spiders and the fact that they appeared to be thriving despite the season.

As it turns out, snow spiders are a thing; a relatively rare thing, but a thing nonetheless.

"Spiders have a sort of 'antifreeze' in their bodies that allow them to remain outside throughout freezing temperatures (typically down to -5°C, some can even survive colder)," writes Rondeau Provincial Park natural heritage education specialist Pilar Manorome on the Ontario Parks blog.

"We are less likely to see spiders outside throughout most of the winter as these spiders (and spiderlings) will stay relatively inactive in their insulated shelters – but on those warmer winter days, a few species of spiders have been found on the surface of the snow."

"Spiders are far hardier than they seem. The can survive under the snow for months, in a state of hibernation," wrote someone on Reddit in response to a thread containing Bourque's video this week.

"Many spiders overwinter under the snow all around the temperate world... It is fascinating that they go for 3 or 4 months without food, much of that time balanced on tippy toes, in temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and below. They have been doing it for millions of years."

It was 2 C outside when Bourque discovered the spider-filled snow mound, and several mild days had already passed. Given that the Nova Scotia resident has an abundance of arachnids to deal with every summer, it makes sense that they might come up for air under those conditions.

"We have lots here in the summer," said Bourque on Twitter of the spiders. "There are times where I have to take a broomstick with me just to walk between the house and the garage."

Lead photo by

Lucas Bourque

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