According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “approximately 12.5% of adults in the United States have a specific phobia” and zoophobia is one of the most common. It is defined as the “intense and uncontrollable fear of animals” and there are several types. While most people tend to be afraid of dogs (cyanophobia), spiders (arachnophobia) and snakes (ophidiophobia), there are many different types, some more understandable than others. The reasons for the different zoophobias vary from negative past experiences to genetic factors and stress, but there are some that are just hard to understand. Here’s a list of the strangest animal phobias people experience.
Alektorophobia is a rare phobia characterized by an intense fear of chicken and many people have difficulty believing that this condition actually exists. The truth is that there are quite a few people with alektorophobia, many of whom have lived in rural areas at some point in their lives. While theories range from being trapped with a large flock to encounters with aggravated chickens, there’s no one explanation for alektorophobia. People with this phobia tend to avoid chicken, even at the dinner table. Some people’s alektorophobia is so bad that they also avoid other birds like turkeys and ducks
Bufonophobia is the irrational fear of toads and much of this phobia stems from the association of toads with poisons or diseases. In some cultures, toads are seen as bad omens and it also doesn’t help that toads aren’t seen as the most beautiful creatures in the world. Most people with bufonophobia make a conscious effort to stay far away from areas where they might encounter toads. Some go as far as staying on concrete surfaces, not that toads don’t make the rare appearance on solid surfaces, but run-ins often send people into a frenzy.
Worms play a vital role in our ecosystem; not only do they increase the amount of air and water in the soil, but it also helps to break down organic matter. But despite their important work, there are quite a few people who are scared of them, to the point where they won’t even touch grass because these creatures can be found below. Some believe that because they live underground, they are dirty and it doesn’t help that they don’t have limbs, eyes, or any other human-like features.
Chiroptophobia is the intense fear of bats, and this is one phobia that we can largely thank popular culture for. Over the last century, bats have been portrayed to be evil creatures that turn into blood-sucking vampires. Some people are so bothered by these nighttime flyers that they avoid leaving their homes at night. Even without pop culture’s help, bats do pose a tiny threat to humans; they are associated with diseases like rabies, histoplasmosis, salmonellosis, and a few others, but bats rarely attack people.
Ostraconophobia, or the fear of shellfish, is a fairly common phobia that for most, is just a dietary restriction, but for some people, their fear of lobsters, crabs and crayfish can significantly limit their lives. Some of the phobia comes down to the fear of food poisoning while some are afraid of the texture, the taste, and their claws. People with ostraconophobia may stay away from the seaside or rivers while some don’t want to be in restaurants with lobsters in their names.
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