Have you ever walked around a zoo or museum and heard people say things like “Snakes! I hate snakes!” or “I won’t walk that way if there’s a spider there!”. Many people (some studies indicate around 1 in 10 people) have a phobia at some point or another in their life. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding despite the fear, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed. The sufferer usually is aware that the fear is irrational, but can do nothing about it.
There are many types of phobias ranging from fear of clowns, to a fear of bad breath and everything in between. Once in a while we meet someone here at the museum who has a particular problem with certain animals. We try to educate and help the person through their fear and with any luck we can make a small difference to them. Animal phobias are very common and can be quite debilitating to those people who suffer from them. Especially if the animal they fear is a very commonplace one, like dogs. Here are some of the phobias that might show themselves at our facility…
Bovinophobia – fear of cattle
Equinophobia/Hippophobia – fear of horses
Icthyophobia – fear of fish
Herpetophobia – fear of reptiles and amphibians
Ornithophobia – fear of birds
Entomophobia – fear of insects
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Cynophobia – fear of canines
Mainouphobia/Pithikosophobia – fear of monkeys(& Lemurs!)
Ovinaphobia -fear of sheep
And that’s just some of the possible animal phobias. There’s tons more out there, from the smallest insect to the largest whale. Some are common, some are incredibly obscure. But all are real and afflict someone, somewhere.