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Ophidiophobia or ophiophobia is a particular type of specific phobia, the abnormal fear of snakes. It is sometimes called by a more general term, herpetophobia, fear of reptiles or amphibians. The word comes from the Greek words "ophis" (ὄφις) which refers to snake, and "phobia" (φοβία) meaning fear.[1]

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 not only fears them when in live contact but also dreads to think about them or even see them in video or still pictures.[2]

About a third of adult humans are ophidiophobic, making this the most common reported phobia.[3] Scientists have theorized that mammals may have an innate reaction to snakes, which was vital for their survival as it allowed such dangerous threats to be identified immediately.[4]

In fiction[edit]

In non-medical press and literature, the movie-character Indiana Jones has been used as an example of someone with ophidiophobia, or just fear of snakes.[5][6][7][8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fear of Snakes Phobia – Ophidiophobia". FearOf. 2016-08-22. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  2. ^ Murrie, Matthew & Steven. The First Book of Seconds. F+W Media, 2010. p.11.
  3. ^ Lynne Isbell, "The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent - Why We See So Well" (Harvard University Press, 2009)
  4. ^ "Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds". news.nationalgeographic.com. 
  5. ^ "What if there were no snakes?". 12 June 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  6. ^ Ouellette, Jennifer. "Serpentine Style: The Physics of Flying Snakes". Retrieved 22 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "Global mystery: Why are snakes dying off?". 9 June 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2018 – via Christian Science Monitor. 
  8. ^ Gresh, Lois H.; Weinberg, Robert (21 April 2008). "Why Did It Have To Be Snakes: From Science to the Supernatural, The Many Mysteries of Indiana Jones". John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 22 March 2018 – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ Latta, Sara (4 February 2014). "Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 22 March 2018 – via Google Books.