The Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska shared the footage from the camper to Facebook on Halloween with the eerie caption: “In the remote depths of Lake Clark’s vast, wild landscape, a weary backpacker settles in for a night at camp after a long day of exploring.
“Little do they know, creatures of the night lurk in the woods, waiting for the opportune moment to strike fear.
“Snuggled into their warm sleeping bag, the tired explorer nods off to dreamland … suddenly they are jolted awake with the sense of being covered by creepy crawly creatures of the forest, only to discover their nightmare has become a reality.”
The bugs weren’t spiders though, despite their appearance. Thick clusters of what are actually daddy longlegs or harvestmen are known as “aggregations”, the park explained in an updated post, and while the behaviour is not uncommon among these creepy crawlies there is no simple explanation for why they gather in this way during autumn.
Arachnologists have speculated that aggregations occur either as a form of humidity control, as daddy longlegs are susceptible to drying out, or to deter predators.
The video has been viewed 3.5 million times since it was uploaded last week and prompted over 13,000 comments echoing the general consensus that the situation was a “literal nightmare”.
Numerous viewers tagged friends to encourage a harvestmen-centric camping trip with “let’s go camping” comments, while others “couldn’t even imagine” being in the daddy longlegs-infested tent.
“One of the creepiest Halloween videos I have seen online today,” wrote one user.
Another commented: “I would be scratching and have my skin crawling for months.”
The daddy longlegs aggregation may have been in Alaska, but the UK is not immune to aggregations of other arachnids.
Giant house spiders are set to invade homes across UK as species enter mating season this autumn, and males begin to look out for females to partner up with.