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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 and/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.[citation needed] 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][dubious ]

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.