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Spider Climbs Into Calgary Air Quality Monitoring Machine, Totally Skews Readings

The spider has been spinning a web of lies this week.

The isty-bitsy spider climbed up the Alberta air quality monitoring machine and spun a wicked web of lies this week.

No, seriously.

Staff from the Calgary Region Airshed Zone (CRAZ) said a pesky arachnid was found inside the equipment at one monitoring station Wednesday, leading to extraordinarily high ratings.

The team was tipped off Wednesday evening, when an air quality rating of 28 was recorded — on a scale of 1 to 10.

"This is one of those things that you never, ever expect to happen," Mandeep Dhaliwal, the air quality program manager with CRAZ, told CBC News.

"We're still having trouble getting the spider out," he added.

Smoke from wildfires in B.C. and northwestern U.S. has been wafting over the mountains since Monday, blanketing much of central and southern Alberta in a thick haze.

Alberta Parks and Environment spokesman Jason Maloney explained that air quality is measured by shining a beam of light through the air stream to measure particulate matter. Obviously, a spider standing in the light's path caused a problem.

"To the instrument, it read it like a big increase in particulate matter," he told Global News.

"I don’t know the actual size of the spider, but to the instruments it may have seemed like Aragog," he joked.

Because staff do not know how long the spider has been calling the equipment home, they're unsure about the accuracy of other high-risk air quality ratings measured earlier this week.

But, according to the Calgary Herald, the ultra-high ratings measured on Wednesday and Thursday were later adjusted to a 5, or moderate risk.

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