Tremendous swarm of bugs crawls across the Outback

By Zachary Rosenthal,

March 22

A wild video from near Quilpie, Australia, a town in Eastern Australia about 600 miles west of Brisbane, caught thousands of slater bugs moving across red dirt in the middle of the Australian Outback. The sheer number of creepy crawlies moving across the dirt almost made it look like the surface of the Earth itself was moving.


Slater bugs--also known as roly-polyies, woodlice or pill bugs--are multi-legged, land-living crustaceans that can be found in moist areas across much of the world, including the United States, according to Storyful.

"My chooks (chickens) love eating them if they get the chance, but I've never seen anything eating them when they are out in the open and on the move like this," said Wendy Sheehan, who posted the video to her Instagram page.

Sheehan theorized that a recent rainfall might be the reason that the seemingly endless stream of bugs decided to scamper across rural Australia.

Bugs GIF (Licensed Storyful)
Storyful/Wendy Sheehan

"I don't know if it's as a result of the 5 millimeter [rain] we had last night, or in anticipation of rain coming, or some completely unrelated bug reason," Sheehan said.


The video was uploaded on March 14, with the weather in Quilpie in the days previous featuring thunderstorms in the area. Perhaps the slater bugs were notified to seek shelter by a MinuteCast notification from the AccuWeather app, which alerts users of incoming rain and storms. Or perhaps the bugs were motivated to cross the road just to get to the other side.

In the U.S., a bug that looks like it belongs in Australia is expected to eventually spread up and down the East Coast. The large but harmless Joro spider, which likely came to the U.S. from Japan, is expected to spread northward in the coming year.

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