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Are You Afraid of Animals: Learn About The Symptoms and Treatment

While you are preparing for a weekend trip to your local zoo, there are some people who wish that zoo never existed – these are people with extreme fear of certain animals such as spiders, snakes, insects, monkey e.t.c. This condition is known as Zoophobia otherwise referred to as fear of animals.

According to studies, people that have extreme fear of animals have a genetic predisposition to fear certain kinds of animals. However, it can be argued that this fear for certain animals is necessary for the survival of human species to an extent. The degree to which some people fear certain animals largely depends to the animal’s characteristics, their fear-evoking attributes and the extent they are different from human form.

A survey showed that people with Zoophobia tends to fear slimy animals such as spiders (Arachnophobia) lizards (Scoliodentosaurophobia), maggots (Scoleciphobia), frogs (Ranidaphobia), snakes (Ophidiophobia), worms (Vermiphobia), cockroaches (Kastaridaphobia), moths (Mottephobia) rats (Musophobia), etc.

What Causes Fear of Animals (Zoophobia)?

Zoophobia existed in every part of the world. In most cases, fear of animals is as result of terrible and negative childhood experience that involves certain animals. This traumatic experience by the victim can affect him throughout his lifetime, in some cases; the fear goes away on its own without any specific treatment.

Evolutionary factors are another major cause of Zoophobia. Since the evolution of humans; certain animals has been taken as harmful and dangerous. Zoophobia therefore, is like a natural defense mechanism humans developed as a means of survival against certain animals. As we go from one form of civilization to another, some animals got a spot in our households but many are still left out. However, the fear we exhibited against certain animals is in-built in our genes and one can have Zoophobia when this fear goes over the extreme.

How To Know You Have Zoophobia

Not everybody who has Zoophobia exhibited symptoms. Some people might have this condition without knowing it especially if they are not confronted with the object of their fear, according to the studies done by the Mayo Clinic. On the other hand, those with extreme cases of Zoophobia not only show symptoms when they are presented with the object of their fear but also when they think of it.

The common symptoms of Zoophobia include:

  • Anxiety when about to be confronted with certain animals
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Feeling dizzy or even fainting in some extreme cases
  • Becoming frozen
  • Fleeing
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Avoidance of places where animals can be seen such as zoo or forest reserves

These symptoms can be very embarrassing and they can interfere with your social life. For instance, parents with Zoophobia might avoid taking their kids to places like zoo where they can learn a lot about animals. Some people with this condition in some extreme cases refuse to leave home for fear of encountering the animal.

How To Treat Zoophobia

Zoophobia can be treated just like other types of phobias. If you are suffering from this condition, you are not alone; millions of other people around the world are suffering from various types of Zoophobia. Fortunately, there are techniques you can use to treat yourself of fear of animals.

Some methods of treating Zoophobia include:

Behavior Therapy

This is one of the most effective treatment of Zoophobia, it involves meeting with a therapist who will try to find out the reasons why you fear these animals. The therapist job is to guide the victim in understanding the phobia, and building a positive behavior. By sharing your fear with your therapist, you can be able to release the stress and anxiety cause by Zoophobia and develop more confidence to face the object of your fear.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy involves exposing the patient to the object of their fear. This type of treatment requires the patients to withstand fearful situations involving animals or their representations. In this method, the therapist will employ relaxation techniques such as mental visualization, controlled breathing and meditation to help you cope with the anxiety during the exposure to animals.


Certain medications may be recommended by your therapist as a last resort.


Zoophobia is one of the most common phobias in the world. You don’t have to lose hope if you found yourself suffering from this condition. What you need to do is set up an appointment with a therapist that knows how to treat fear of animals.