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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][unreliable source]

The phobia – an irrational or overwhelming fear – is distinct from a general dislike of snakes and from reasonable fear of venomous snake bites or of the danger posed by large constrictors like boas and pythons. An ophidiophobe not only fears snakes when in live contact but also dreads to think about them or even see them in video or still pictures.[2][unreliable source]

About a third of adult humans are ophidiophobic, making this the most common reported phobia,[3][dubious ] or perhaps the second most common.[2] A 2001 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden suggests that mammals may have an innate negative reaction to snakes (and spiders), which was vital for their survival as it allowed such dangerous threats to be identified immediately.[4][better source needed]

In fictionEdit

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]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "PHOBIAMAN" (22 August 2016). "Fear of Snakes Phobia – Ophidiophobia". FearOf: Phobia Forum. Archived from the original on 28 November 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Murrie, Matthew; Murrie, Steven (2010). The First Book of Seconds: 220 of the Most Random, Remarkable, Respectable (and Regrettable) Runners-Up and Their Almost Claim to Fame. Simon and Schuster. p. 11. 
  3. ^ Isbell, Lynne (2009). The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent: Why We See So Well. Harvard University Press. [page needed]
  4. ^ Roach, John (4 October 2001). "Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. 
  5. ^ 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.