Giant Spiders Are Expected to Parachute From the Sky Across the East Coast This Spring

The last two years have been quite the whirlwind, for all of us, don’t you think? We’ve had everything from a massive global health pandemic to a herd of murder hornets come to attack. Ready to hear what the latest uproar is all about? Giant spiders are expected to drop from the sky.

Yes, you read that right. Giant spiders are expected to parachute from the sky across the East Coast this spring. We wish we were joking.

According to researchers at the University of Georgia, millions of large Joro spiders are expected to start “ballooning”—aka carrying themselves across the wind to new locations—to the East Coast as early as this May. They’ve already made their way to Georgia in 2013, and have made their way across much of the state and Southeast, and now? It’s coming for the East Coast.

They may look big and spooky, but actually, Joro spiders are pretty harmless, experts say. In fact, their fangs are seemingly too small to break human skin, so you don’t need to worry about that. “People should try to learn to live with them,” said Andy Davis, a research scientist in the Odum School of Ecology. “If they’re literally in your way, I can see taking a web down and moving them to the side, but they’re just going to be back next year.”

Most people have a certain reaction toward any type of spider. And with the way these look, they SEEM scary, but they’re not. And other experts recommend ignoring them instead of taking any fatal action against them.

“The way I see it, there’s no point in excess cruelty where it’s not needed,” added Benjamin Frick, an undergraduate researcher in the School of Ecology. “You have people with saltwater guns shooting them out of the trees and things like that, and that’s really just unnecessary.”

So will Joro spiders survive in the cold winters of the East Coast? The study these two conducted says yes. Apparently, the spiders have a 77% higher heart rate, which can withstand better than most other spiders in cold weather. “It looks like the Joros could probably survive throughout most of the Eastern Seaboard here, which is pretty sobering,” Davis said.

Just remember—they look scarier than they are. Experts promise they’re harmless, so if you see one, try to ignore the instinct to pound it to the ground with your foot.

“There’s really no reason to go around actively squishing them,” Frick said. “Humans are at the root of their invasion. Don’t blame the Joro spider.”

Have you seen a Joro spider before? What would you do if you saw one of these insects?