Ophidiophobia or ophiophobia is a particular type of specific phobia, the abnormal fear of snakes. Fear of snakes is sometimes called by a more general term, herpetophobia, fear of reptiles and/or amphibians. The word comes from the Greek words "ophis" (ὄφις) which refers to snake and "phobia" (φοβία) meaning fear.
Care must also be taken to differentiate people who do not like snakes or fear them for their venom or the inherent danger involved. An ophidiophobe would not only fear them when in live contact but also dreads to think about them or even see them on TV or in pictures.
About a third of adult humans are ophidiophobic, making this the most common reported phobia. Scientists have theorised that humans may have an innate reaction to snakes, which was vital for the survival of humankind as it allowed such dangerous threats to be identified immediately.
In Notable Literature
- A fear of snakes is alluded to in Genesis 3:15 as a consequence of the serpent's temptation of Eve; this temptation causing her and Adam to commit original sin.
- Ophidiophobia is a characteristic of adventurer Indiana Jones.
- Murrie, Matthew & Steven. The First Book of Seconds. Adams Media, 2010. p.11.
- Lynne Isbell, "The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent - Why We See So Well" (Harvard University Press, 2009)
- Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds
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