Zoophobia is one of the most common phobias that can be found in humans and refers to the overall fear of animals, regardless of species. However, it is quite rare and is usually found in those who lived in big cities and didn’t get the chance to interact with any animals on a regular basis, unlike people who live in rural areas or who have visited zoos since they were young.
However, the number of people who are afraid of a certain species of animal, such as fish, chickens, and so on, is significantly higher than the rate of people who suffer from zoophobia. These types of phobias manifest differently from person to person. For example, there are people who can feel safe if they see these animals, but they are far from their habitat, while others can’t even watch them on TV and have nightmares. The most common phobia is arachnophobia (fear of spiders), but there are other lesser-known phobias that you had no idea people had to deal with.
In general, medical experts define phobias as a type of anxiety disorder that causes an irrational fear of something – in this case, animals – and people experience extreme panic attacks and a high heart rate when imagining or seeing a situation that involves those types of animals.
That being said, here are the weirdest animal phobias you didn’t know about. Read on to find out more info!
Ichthyophobia – fear of fish
There are some phobias that could occur when someone has experienced a traumatic event, such as being attacked by a dog, a bear, and so on. However, these types of phobias have a logical explanation and a specific cause that led to this fear, but how about ichthyophobia, also known as the fear of fish? How could anyone be attacked by a fish? Of course, sharks could do that, but the chances are slim, and in fact, this phobia is called galeophobia. Obviously, people can understand why you are afraid of sharks, but what about fish?!
In general, ichthyophobia refers not only to the fear of fish per se but also the fear of eating and touching them, regardless of the fish’s size and species. Nevertheless, there are two types of fish phobias: the irrational fear of fish, which is a psychological phenomenon, and the mythical fear of fish, which is a cultural phenomenon that can be found in certain tribes, such as the Navajo tribes. These tribes believe that all species of marine beings are taboo, so they refuse to interact with them.
The irrational fear of fish usually occurs in childhood, when kids have experienced a traumatic event with fish or have a well-developed imagination and believe that fish can fly and attack them.
Cynophobia – fear of dogs
As I said before, fear of dogs, also known as cynophobia, can be understood because you are more likely to be attacked or chased by a dog. However, there are people who suffer from this phobia despite never interacting at all with dogs. Maybe they watched some videos with aggressive dogs that scared them; who knows?
Did you know that this type of phobia actually affects 7% to 9% of the population? According to statistics, there are more than 62,400,000 dogs in the United States, so your chances of being bitten by a dog are high, and in this case, your phobia is entirely understandable. Nonetheless, there are people who may experience severe symptoms of cynophobia even when they think about dogs.
Ailurophobia – fear of cats
Ailurophobia is the persistent and irrational fear of cats and is also known as ‘felinophobia’, ‘elurophobia’, and ‘cat phobia’. In general, people who suffer from this phobia have either been attacked by a cat in the past, as children, or have simply witnessed someone else being attacked by a feline. Sometimes just watching a few videos of aggressive animals is enough to trigger your phobia.
Individuals with ailurophobia can experience an extreme panic attack even when they just think about cats, imagine scenarios with them, hear them meowing, or see them on the street. For example, if you are afraid of cats, when you see a cat walking down the street, your brain begins to imagine scenarios in which the cat jumps on you and attacks you, and then you start to panic and become extremely anxious. Your brain will think that you are in danger and will start acting accordingly to protect you.
It is speculated that Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, and Alexander the Great suffered from this phobia. So, it seems that even strong people who have taken part in various battles and risked their lives can be afraid of small animals.
Alektorophobia – fear of chickens
Unlike ornithophobia, which is the overall fear of birds, alektorophobia is the specific phobia of chickens. Being a specific phobia, people’s fear is irrational. Of course, individuals who suffer from different types of phobias know that their fear is irrational, but they can’t control their feelings and psychological reactions.
As with other disorders, the symptoms of specific phobias – in this case, alektorophobia – differ from person to person. For example, while some people experience extreme panic attacks and anxiety, others hate to eat chicken as well as other birds, such as turkey and duck. This can also be a reason why they become vegetarians or vegans.
People who grew up in rural areas are more likely to develop this fear as they have been surrounded by a lot of chickens, and maybe they have experienced a traumatic event involving chickens.
Bufonophobia – fear of toads
Bufonophobia is an irrational fear of toads that can cause serious episodes of anxiety and panic attacks. Most of the time, people who suffer from bufonophobia believe that toads are disease-carrying creatures. So, this phobia can have a big impact on people’s lives because they will avoid rural areas and other places just to limit the chances of coming into contact with a toad.
However, it’s quite impossible to tell someone suffering from bufonophobia that some toads are harmless amphibians because they start to panic instantly when they see one. In addition, there are some species of toads, such as the giant toad, that are poisonous and can kill people and other animals. People who have this phobia have probably heard of this fact, so this may be one of the reasons why they have developed a fear of toads.
Scoleciphobia – fear of worms
Scoleciphobia, also known as helminthophobia or vermiphobia, is a specific fear of worms, especially parasitic worms. As you probably know, just like any other being, worms play an important role in the agricultural system because they can keep your plants alive and be food for birds as well.
Unfortunately, this type of phobia can adversely affect people’s lives, as they will even avoid walking on the grass because they know that there may be worms. People who have found a worm infestation in their food are more likely to develop this kind of phobia.
Chiroptophobia – the fear of bats
Chiroptophobia is an irrational fear of bats. People who have this phobia may experience severe episodes of anxiety and panic when they see bats or imagine scenarios that involve these creatures. Some of them avoid visiting caves or going out at night.
Bats are often feared by individuals because they usually associate them with darkness, vampires, and horror movies and believe that they are disease-carrying creatures. According to experts, some species of bats were likely responsible for producing COVID-19 disease.
Ostraconophobia – fear of shellfish
Ostraconophobia, or fear of shellfish such as lobsters, crabs, squids, or crayfish, is fairly common in people of all ages. In general, people who suffer from this type of phobia are afraid of these aquatic creatures per se, as well as food poisoning, their texture and taste, and so on.
However, some people develop this phobia because they are afraid of certain allergies caused by shellfish, even though they have never had this kind of allergy before.
The truth is that food poisoning is actually a real thing. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people could experience three types of food poisoning, namely paralytic, neurotoxic, and amnestic, but this is a rare phenomenon. So, people who have experienced this before are more likely to develop ostraconophobia as well.
American professional stock car racing driver Denny Hamlin suffered from ostraconophobia. “I have a lobster phobia. I don’t know why. I just don’t like them. I cannot eat dinner if someone beside me is eating lobster. I can’t look at it. So as far as I’m concerned, they need to put it back in the water and let it live,” he added.
Equinophobia – fear of horses
Equinophobia is a fear of horses caused by various factors, such as a negative and traumatic event with horses, especially in childhood, a fall from a horse, the appearance of the animal, witnessing someone else who had a negative experience with a horse, and so on.
Individuals who have equinophobia can have frequent and intense episodes of anxiety and panic attacks, even when they see a horse or think about one. Even though horseback riding may be a hobby for you, this doesn’t mean that it can’t feel like a terror to someone else.
Melissophobia – fear of bees
Melissophobia, also known as “apiphobia,” is an intense fear of bees. Of course, we are all afraid of being stung by a bee, but melissophobia is different, as the symptoms can be overwhelming and cause severe episodes of anxiety that could adversely affect your health and lifestyle.
Melissophobia is a specific phobia – in other words, it’s a type of anxiety disorder – that causes a deep, irrational fear of something, whether we are talking about animals, objects, or situations. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 12.5 percent of adults will suffer from a specific phobia during their lifetime, so you are not alone in this situation!
However, one of the most important parts of this phenomenon is that people who are terrified of bees aren’t bothered by wasps. In this sense, spheksophobia is the fear of wasps.
There are many factors that could cause melissophobia in people, such as negative experiences with bees, observing someone else’s fear of bees, hearing negative stories about them, or seeing them as monsters.
If you want to learn how to forget about your fears and regain control of your life, this book might be a good start.
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