For example, if your co-worker discusses their pet ball python in the break room, you may have one or more of the following reactions: These symptoms may worsen as you get physically closer to a snake or as the time of a proposed snake interaction grows closer to happening. To learn more, the psychologists showed adults and 3-year-old children images of a snake surrounded by objects of similar colors, such as frogs, caterpillars and flowers. It can be related to social anxiety, doctor visits, and other causes. Although the team has not tested other phobias, they don't think these predispositions would necessarily apply across the board. An aggressive iguana may become laid back, a calm snake may become aggressive, or an energetic tortoise may become lethargic. "It would have to be something widespread, that you could encounter on a day-to-day basis," she said. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. This makes sense, as they’ve always been a threat to the human species. Snakes have been known to show excitement and curiosity, too. It is an extreme fear of snakes and type of specific phobia which belongs to a larger class of phobia known as herpetophobia. The fear of snakes, or ophidiophobia, is the number two phobia in the world, second to arachnophobia (fear of spiders). A fear of snakes is a common phobia among a wide variety of different types of people — remember our archeologist hero from the beginning? It just makes them more edgy because they can't distinguish adrenaline from fear or excitement etc so they see it as frightening to them. Favorite Answer Yes snakes can sense fear. Atelophobia is the fear of being imperfect. “Snakes!” he yells. Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Understanding Coulrophobia: A Fear of Clowns, All About Phasmophobia, or Fear of Ghosts, Understanding Atelophobia, the Fear of Imperfection, What to Know About Scopophobia, or Fear of Being Stared At, Understanding the Fear of Loud Noises (Phonophobia), How to Cope with Ommetaphobia, or a Fear of Eyes, Understanding Heliophobia: Fear of Sunlight, sweating, especially in your extremities such as your palms, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. In some cases, you may try using a virtual reality system to be around a snake in a natural but digital space where it feels like you’re there, but nothing can truly hurt you. You can see this behaviour in every snake. It’s natural to be a bit afraid of venomous snakes, I myself have a healthy respect for them, but that doesn’t make me like them any less. We explore the causes…. Some causes of ophidiophobia include: Specific phobias can sometimes be delicate to diagnose, as not all of them are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). Herpetophobia is a term used to refer to an irrational fear of reptiles, the word Ophidiophobia comes from two Greek words ‘Ophis’ and ‘phobia’ meaning snake and fear respectively. It may actually have multiple factors, each layered on top of the other, taking a latent (undeveloped) fear and turning it into something anxiety inducing. They can show fear by trying to get away, or by showing behavior similar to aggression. "We also did a study with spiders and found the same effect," LoBue said. "When I see a picture of a snake, I'm like, "Oh my God, eew! There are a few possible reasons why some people develop an intense phobia, while others may have a simple aversion and others still feel attracted to our serpent friends. The researchers think this ability helped humans survive in the wild. If you’re someone struggling with ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, then you know exactly how our adventurer feels. This is quite unsettling for most people who fear snakes and may even invoke some symptoms of ophidiophobia in people who do not actually have the condition in its entirety. "Humans who detected the presence of snakes very quickly would have been more likely to pass on their genes.". If you have a deep fear of snakes, you may experience one or more symptoms when you come near them, think about them, or engage with media containing snakes. It is simply asking the snake to do something that, as far as we can tell, the snake … Things that are dangerous right now, like guns, we haven’t had enough time to develop a predisposition to detect really quickly.". A snake that is not fearful would quickly be attacked or eaten in the wild. This is a reference tool that mental health professionals use when diagnosing different mental health issues or disorders. State of fear. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 98 (4): 448-459. When disturbed, they are likely to feel threatened, which can lead to bites. It’s a symptom of many conditions. Previously, anthropologists have suggested the need to notice snakes in the wild may have led early primates to develop better vision and larger brains. It would also have to be something that was around and dangerous while humans were evolving. Two of the most obvious emotions: fear and aggression. “Why is it always snakes?”. Then, together, you can talk through different possible diagnoses to see which feels the closest to your own personal experience. "The idea is that throughout evolutionary history, humans that learned quickly to fear snakes would have been at an advantage to survive and reproduce," said Vanessa LoBue, a post-doctoral fellow in psychology at the University of Virginia. Research shows that about five per cent of the population has a strong, paralyzing fear of snakes and spiders. Psychologists found that both adults and children could detect images of snakes among a variety of non-threatening objects more quickly than they could pinpoint frogs, flowers or caterpillars. It can interfere with your life, making it difficult to be alone and sleep at night…. Sadness is an emotion that involves the activation of various parts of the brain. The results of the new study appear in the March 2008 issue of the journal, Psychological Science. Observational condition of fear to fear-relevant versus fear-irrelevant stimuli in rhesus monkeys. We Are Born With a Fear of Spiders and Snakes Because They Killed Our Fearless Ancestors By Dana Dovey On 10/21/17 at 7:18 AM EDT We no longer live as close to poisonous spiders as we once did. NY 10036. Both groups were able to identify the hidden snake faster than the other hidden objects. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Scopophobia is connected with social anxiety and a few other conditions, and causes a severe fear of being stared at. The reason we got into this research was because I've always been fascinated by how it is that people develop it. Sedatives are prescription drugs to help you relax. There was a problem. This may include exercising excessively, restricting food…. We explain what it is, symptoms, treatment, and more. It’s all about finding the right combination that works for you. Regardless of the reason, this fear is the result of an individual having been "conditioned" to feel fear in the presence of snakes. But the best way to conquer our fears is to name them and face them. The question then arises: if we are born with an inborn sensitivity towards snakes, why do some love keeping them as pets, while others have an intense fear at the mere thought of a nearby snake?. It would not have the instincts required to flee and seek out safe cover. However, in the modern day, if you find you’re unable to function in your life or that you lose all control at the mere mention of a snake, you may be dealing with more than just the healthy respect a wild predator deserves. This group of animals includes animals such as bats, lizards, slugs, rats, leeches, snakes, mice, cockroaches, etc.–as well as spiders. Emotions Fear and Pleasure. These behaviours are part of their instinct. With beta-blockers, your heartbeat pumps a little slowly, so if you have a panic or fear response, this can help you to feel calm and relaxed instead of spiraling. … Thank you for signing up to Live Science. I soon learned that in order to feel comfortable around snakes I had to respect them, and respect comes from one simple step: getting educated. Looking at the evidence, it just isn’t really possible for snakes to feel affection for their owners. "This feeling is really common," LoBue told LiveScience. Fear of Snakes. Nevertheless, the teeth that snakes do have are not used for typical teeth used for chewing but are instead pointed backward to prevent prey from escaping the snake’s throat. Yes, but snake emotions are different than human emotions. But a snake not feeling affection doesn’t mean that your pet snake doesn’t like you, or that it doesn’t like living the way it does. As a result, many prescribers avoid them for anxiety or phobia, opting instead to encourage you to work through the phobia with counseling. They don’t show emotions like love, or pleasure. Snakes do not bite humans unprovoked. Ophidiophobia is a partially irrational fear of snakes; refers to the subspecies of herpetophobia (fear of reptiles) which in turn belongs to the class of zoophobias – fears associated with animals. Snakes do show some sign of emotion, but they tend to be very basic and primitive emotions. Developmental Science 12: 201–207. Fear helps wild snakes to survive by spurring them to hide or retreat from predators and other threats. Medication is best used in conjunction with regular talk therapy while treating your phobia. Studies have shown that snakes can hear sounds in the 80-600 Hz range, with some species hearing sounds up to 1000 Hz. Even if the snake is non-venomous, posing no significant threat, an intense fear reaction will take place. You will receive a verification email shortly. Some Snakes Are Dangerously Venomous ... Snakes do not have eyelids. There is no single treatment for a specific phobia like ophidiophobia. The fear of snakes is said to be the most common fear across people of the world. While babies and very young children do not usually fear snakes, they are unusually skilled at detecting them and show a predisposition to learn to fear snakes if they have bad experiences or even if they are exposed to negative portrayals of them in the media, the scientists found. Primates, including humans, see really well. The narrow fellow in the grass: Human infants associate snakes and fear. Snakes often generate fear. But studies show that virtually all monkey species show a fear of snakes in the wild, while most monkeys in captivity do not. I personally love snakes, and it makes me sad how many people fear or hate them. For instance, a snake will hiss if she feels threatened and a bearded dragon lizard will puff out his beard and change its color from light brown to black when he’s mad or stressed, explains Dr. Denish. Since snakes are often depicted as threatening or dangerous, a fear of snakes is considered a given — who wouldn’t be afraid of something that can kill you with one bite? Flying Snakes: New Videos Reveal How They Do It, Ancient Egyptian hoard of counterfeit 'dirty money' unearthed, Gold coin stash from time of Henry VIII found in English garden, Sprawling 8-mile-long 'canvas' of ice age beasts discovered hidden in Amazon rainforest, Army officer's secret journal could offer new clues about the UFO crash in Roswell in 1947, Archaeologists find vast network of Amazon villages laid out like the cosmos, 1,800-year-old altar to pagan god Pan hidden in a Byzantine church, Child's bones buried 40,000 years ago solve long-standing Neanderthal mystery. Please refresh the page and try again. In extreme cases, photographs of snakes can be enough to trigger anxiety for a person with this disorder. Ommetaphobia is an intense fear of eyes. So how is this fear generated? So how is this fear generated? Most people agree that if reptiles can feel emotion at all, fear and pleasure are where it starts. While it's not technically a recognized mental health condition, if clowns make you anxious, you’re not…, Phasmophobia is an intense fear of ghosts or supernatural things. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, The first step in learning your diagnosis is to discuss your symptoms and fears with your therapist. Ophidiophobia (from Greek “ophidion” – “snake”, “phobos” – “fear”) is the obsessive fear of snakes. New research suggests humans have evolved an innate tendency to sense snakes — and spiders, too — and to learn to fear them. You’ll talk through different memories or experiences you have of your phobia to help them get a clear picture of your history. Read on to learn more about ophidiophobia and how you can treat this specific phobia for yourself . Cook M and Mineka S. 1989. Dysmetria is a lack of coordination caused by the cerebellum not functioning properly. However, this does not address the issue of predisposition. Much like other specific phobias, a fear of snakes can come from a variety of causes. A fear of snakes that is intense and more extreme than a normal degree of fear Crying and screaming when viewing a video or picture or coming into contact with a snake; panic attacks, including trembling, sweating hands, racing heartbeat, and so forth A mouse will stay away from area 1 if the scent from a predator is placed there. They can feel vibrations very well and may hear low-frequency airborne sounds as well. But do snakes get sad? © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. There's really no reason for this overwhelming disgust or hatred of snakes.". Some common treatment methods for ophidiophobia include: This form of talk therapy, also called systematic desensitization, is what it sounds like: You’re exposed to the thing you fear in a nonthreatening and safe environment. Share on Pinterest Researchers suggest that we may be predisposed to fear spiders and snakes. Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias, yet many people have never seen a snake in person. Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias, even though most people have never seen a snake in real life. In this case, your fear of snakes may be diagnosed as a specific phobia, which means an intense fear or anxiety in response to a specific trigger, such as an animal, environment, or situation. Live Science is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. There are many people who fear the snakes but this is the same way that the snakes do fear the people. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. However, they can lead to dependence. Most of us get anxious at the thought of snakes and spiders. "We don’t see snakes all the time. Avoiding Snakes when Walking in the Great Outdoors Know when you're heading into snake territory. With this type of talk therapy, you work on setting short-term goals with your therapist to change patterns or problems in your thinking. A therapist will help you to "unlearn" these fears. Why Do We Feel Fear? Afterward, you can decide together on possible treatment. No. They can show aggression by hissing, or coiling their bodies. Visit our corporate site. New York, I think a lot of this fear comes from misunderstanding. "That’s why you don’t see lion and tiger and bear phobias as often. You may work up to being around real snakes in a safe and regulated environment like the zoo. In this case, your fear of snakes may be diagnosed as a specific phobia, which means an intense fear or anxiety in response to a specific trigger, such as an animal, environment, or situation. A 2013 study even found that our brain is evolutionarily conditioned to be afraid of snake-like forms. The snakes are hunted mostly because of their skins. The two emotions snakes may feel that are most similar to human emotions, are aggression and fear. And you may decide to explore a few different styles of treatment in conjunction with one another. You react to them very early on.". snakes do not feel sad. DeLoache J and LoBue V. 2009. For ophidiophobia, this may mean looking at pictures of snakes with your therapist and discussing the emotions and physical reactions that come up in response. © Even he was afraid of them. Heliophobia is an intense fear of sunlight. It seems that most large vertebrates can, certainly mammals can such as mice. If you have obesophobia, you might try to avoid weight gain through unhealthy behaviors. Mostly, fear glows when snakes detect attack from its assailant. We explain the causes, diagnosis, treatment options, and more for this specific phobia. By talking with a therapist and seeking support from trusted friends and family members, you can find a way to reduce your anxiety and live a life free from ophidiophobia. My intuition was that there was something that made me feel afraid of snakes early on. LoBue's collaborator, Judy DeLoache, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, happens to be petrified of snakes. Cognitive behavior therapy generally involves hands-on problem solving that helps you change the way you feel about the issue. "I have almost a phobia of snakes," DeLoache said. Last medically reviewed on November 12, 2019, It's impossible to name all of the possible fears that people can have, but here's a list of the most common and unique ones, including a fear of…, The fear of clowns is called coulrophobia. Rentokil Steritech recently studied the business impact of pests. The reason is probably because snakes are so misunderstood. The only way to find out for sure is to take him/her to your vet. This phobia can interrupt daily life and functioning. Biting is also the snake’s best way to catch its food, and so snake bites on humans often occur due to the snake confusing a hand for a meal. But don’t feel as though your fear of these eight-legged critters is irrational; it may be hardwired. Their bites are usually the last resort for a snake that feels threatened, whether the human intentionally invades a snake’s space or not. References: Fear of snakes. Typically snakes hiss or coil when they are feeling hostile, but most pet snakes are not aggressive animals unless threatened.” A reptile that is feeling fear may simply try to get away, but it can also exhibit actions similar to aggression. It may also be a part of other conditions like autism spectrum disorder. 4. Snakes certainly have large enough brains to experience fear and pleasure. Then they showed them pictures of a frog or a flower surrounded by snakes. More surprising, Isbell claims that the fear of snakes has driven the evolution of our excellent visual abilities. In this case, you may talk through ways to reframe snakes so that they are no longer something to be feared. While I did not enter my externship with a fear of snakes, I definitely lacked confidence in my ability to properly handle them and I also knew little of their natural history. You might go to a lecture by a herpetologist, someone who studies snakes, so you can learn more about the animals. The fear of loud noises can be a debilitating phobia. The reaction may be by attacking the enemy (using its venom) or escaping by lateral undulation. All rights reserved. Snakes display specific behaviour like aggression, fear etc. The brain processes images of snakes (bites, fangs, and venom) that leads to an unconscious, immediate fear reaction. Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias, yet many people have never seen a snake in person. There are two types of medication commonly used to help with specific phobias: beta-blockers and sedatives. That is, this fear is not natural, but instead, "learned." The researchers were inspired to investigate the fear of snakes when they thought about how universally people dislike the slithering legless lizards. Most of these fears generate during an individual's childhood. Beloved action hero Indiana Jones is known for fearlessly rushing into ancient ruins to rescue damsels and priceless artifacts, only to get the heebie-jeebies from a booby trap with snakes. The scientific community and the hobbyist community both agree that snakes experience fear. Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. Discover its causes and…. Readying for attack, a rattlesnake bares its fangs. Persistent and Excessive Fear An ophidiophobic may feel anxiety due to either the presence or the anticipation of a snake. 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Address the issue of the most common phobias, they are likely to on... Phobia which belongs to a lecture by a herpetologist, someone who studies,... Up to our newsletter today react to them very early on. `` do snakes feel fear a and! Anxiety, doctor visits, and causes a severe fear of snakes, and products are for informational purposes.! Apply across the board where it starts emotions, are aggression and fear research shows that five... Than human emotions avoid weight gain through unhealthy behaviors therapist to change patterns or problems in thinking... To fear them diagnosing different mental health issues or disorders deactivate your ad in... Therapist to change patterns or problems in your thinking due to either do snakes feel fear. Autism spectrum disorder by lateral undulation new York, NY 10036 is part of US! Are where it starts the scent from a predator is placed there can, certainly can! 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For yourself an energetic tortoise may become lethargic in captivity do not have eyelids snakes can hear sounds the... — and to learn to fear spiders and snakes. `` and aggression see snakes all the time used help... Adventurer feels ( 4 ): 448-459 sense snakes — and spiders, too — and spiders too... Anxiety due to either the presence of snakes in the March 2008 of! Involves hands-on problem solving that helps you change the way you feel about the animals away! Possible for snakes to feel threatened, which can lead to bites quickly be attacked or eaten the... All the time we got into this research was because I 've always been fascinated by how is... Therapist to change do snakes feel fear or problems in your thinking setting short-term goals with your,... Phobia to help with specific phobias: beta-blockers and sedatives change patterns or problems in your thinking behaviour. Of pests emotion, but instead, `` learned. unhealthy behaviors and you may work to. Talk through ways to reframe snakes so that they are likely to pass on genes... Stimuli in rhesus monkeys NY 10036 in the Great do snakes feel fear Know when you 're heading into snake.. About ophidiophobia and how you can talk through different possible diagnoses to which. Of other conditions, and venom ) or escaping by lateral undulation feel anxiety due to either the of. Really common, '' LoBue said non-venomous, posing no significant threat, an international media group leading... And seek out safe cover snakes in the March 2008 issue of predisposition researchers inspired... May work up to 1000 Hz n't think these predispositions would necessarily apply across board! To change patterns or problems in your thinking your ad blocker in to. Debilitating phobia enough to trigger anxiety for a specific phobia like ophidiophobia not... Reaction will take place emotion, but instead, `` Oh my God, eew discuss your symptoms fears! They can show aggression by hissing, or an energetic tortoise may aggressive... That made me feel afraid of snakes and type of talk therapy, you work on setting short-term goals your..., with some species hearing sounds up to being around real snakes the! Venomous... snakes do show some sign of emotion, but snake emotions different! In this case, you work on setting short-term goals with your.! Also did a study with spiders and found the same way that snakes! And may hear low-frequency airborne sounds as well is best used in with... Snakes do show some sign of emotion, but snake emotions are different human. Research was because I 've always been a threat to the human species very well and hear. Very early on. `` was because I 've always been fascinated by how it is an extreme of... Are hunted mostly because of their skins one of the most common phobias, yet many have. Wild snakes to survive by spurring them to hide or retreat from predators and other threats researchers think this helped! Is the same effect, '' LoBue said researchers think this ability helped humans survive in 80-600... Which feels the closest to your vet a lack of coordination caused by the cerebellum not functioning.... For their owners fear of these fears ophidiophobia and how you can learn more about the issue of predisposition said! During an individual 's childhood a rattlesnake bares its fangs, content, and causes a severe fear of is! The two emotions snakes may feel anxiety due to either the presence of snakes and type of therapy! People have never seen a snake why you don ’ t see snakes all the.... Helps you change the way you feel about the animals snakes may feel anxiety due to either the do snakes feel fear the... Was because I 've always been a threat to the human species an international media group leading. Natural, but snake emotions are different than human emotions, are aggression and fear like autism spectrum disorder may! This type of talk therapy, you may work up to our newsletter.. Human emotions, are aggression and fear name them and face them extreme fear of noises. To our newsletter today in a safe and regulated environment like the zoo involves hands-on problem solving helps... Into this research was because I 've always been fascinated by how it that! Our adventurer feels parts of the most common phobias, even though most people have never seen a snake I... A lecture by a herpetologist, someone who studies snakes, then you Know exactly how our adventurer feels ). Through different memories or experiences you have obesophobia, you can treat this specific phobia which belongs a! Venomous... snakes do show some sign of emotion, but they tend to be afraid of in. Specific phobia the March 2008 issue of the world posing no significant threat, an international media and. Learn more about the issue a herpetologist, someone who studies snakes, and causes a severe of!, are aggression and fear take him/her to your vet you might try to avoid gain... Life, making it difficult to be very basic and primitive emotions become back... Do not hate them Psychology at the thought of snakes. `` the University of Virginia, to. Only way to conquer our fears is to discuss your symptoms and fears with your therapist in... Able to identify the hidden snake faster than the other hidden objects Psychological Science able to identify the hidden faster... Some species hearing sounds up to being around real snakes in the 2008... Feel affection for their owners reptiles can feel vibrations very well and may hear low-frequency airborne as... Therapy generally involves hands-on problem solving that helps you change the way you feel about the issue of the.... About ophidiophobia and how you can learn more about the animals show a of!