About Animal Phobias: Zoophobia

Please be aware, that some pictures of animals are displayed within the List of Common Animal Phobias, however, photographs for have been omitted. Images are chosen to inform only and all pictures have been chosen with the utmost respect to our audience.

In this article, we will discover what defines a phobia and what an animal phobia actually is. We will look at how treating a phobia can have a profound effect on your quality of life. Finally, we will take a look at the best way to treat animal phobia (by clicking on any of the animal phobias listed you can find more specific information).

What Is A Phobia?

The NHS describes a phobia as:

 ‘An overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.’

Phobias are more extreme than fears and, as the NHS also states, phobias are consider to be a type of anxiety disorder. 

The NHS goes on to explain how phobias are ‘an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.’

From this you can appreciate how a phobia can cause a detrimental shift to how someone lives their life. However, many people do not experience any symptoms until coming into contact with the trigger of the phobia. Yet, in some cases, even thinking about the source of a phobia can cause anxiety or panic. This is known as anticipatory anxiety.

Symptoms Whilst Being Triggered By A Phobia:

Many people start feeling physical symptoms as well as anxiety and panic. These can include some of the following:

  • Unsteadiness, dizziness and light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate or palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling or shaking
  • An upset stomach

What are Animal Phobias (Zoophobia)?

A fear of animals is called ‘zoophobia.’ Zoophobia usually refers to a person afraid of many or all animals. Most people are not afraid of all animals, rather have specific phobias around one or a few types of animals. 

For example, you could have a general fear of insects (entomophobia). Alternatively, you could have a fear of just a single insect, such as a bee (apiphobia). However, all animal phobias are is still housed under the umbrella term of zoophobia.

It can get complicated but on this page we have made a helpful list of the most common animal phobias and their scientific names. This can help you understand where particular animal phobias come from and how to address them.

Most animal phobias are rooted in a deeper fear of being out of control. It is usually the movement and unpredictability of an animal that is the most triggering.

Where Do Animal Phobias Come From?

So, why do you have a fear of animals? For many who love animals, it can be hard to relate to but for those of you who develop fear and anxiety around animals and it can severely limit many of life’s enjoyments, as many animals are unpredictable and hard to avoid.

I use the word develop because though some might think that people are simply born with a fear of animals, (with spiders and snakes coming immediately to mind), its actually not true.

There are only two fears we are born with, the fear of loud noises (phonophobia) and the fear of falling (basophobia). Everything else is learnt. We quickly learn signs of danger and our brains sometimes register things as dangerous by accident – after all, better safe than sorry.

Our instincts are to keep us safe first and if we encounter something we’re not sure of we subconsciously reduce the risk by usually some form of avoidance. The more we avoid, the more we reaffirm our survival instinct’s threat assessment as valid, making the fear stronger and stronger.

Even though the trigger might not be a real threat at all, it becomes a monster in our minds. By avoiding it over and over again, we have trained ourselves to believe it is a real threat. This is how animal phobias develop. 

Animal Phobias Are Learned:

We usually learn fear during childhood from one or two sources:

1. If we have a parent, sibling, or other close relative that has a phobia it can be easily learnt through our interactions with that person. As children, we are incredibly absorbent in the first years of our lives and, unwittingly, our parents and other relatives pass on their understanding of the world around them – the good and the bad. If a family member acts afraid of an animal, we learn that to be a source of danger.

2. The second way we learn phobias is to have an experience that frightens us. This could be as simple as walking through a spider’s web or having a mouse scurry across our path that makes us jump. It can be more obvious in the case of someone falling off a horse and now can’t stand to be around them.

Traumatic events or those perceived as traumatic can create a subconscious trigger in our brain telling us to avoid the thing or the situation in the future. This trigger can become so embedded that many people can’t remember what happened to make them afraid in the first place. However, the fear is now engrained, having become an automated conditioned behaviour.

The Bigger Picture

In my work with people who have zoophobia, I notice that most have more than one phobia. It might not be a specific animal-related phobia, but it appears that a person with a phobic mindset can often suffer from anxiety in multiple areas of their lives. Very often, people with one sort of animal fear also have another. 

For instance, when I was advertising for our Dog Courage Workshop many of those who signed up also had a fear of spiders and a few other animals, too.

Additionally, many people with animal phobias also struggle with situations that are unpredictable or not in their control. Perfectionism and over responsibility can also be other areas of struggle. This is because all anxiety habits are tied together. Many people with animal phobia problems are people who have unknowingly created bad habits with even lower level anxiety triggers. 

Their survival part of their brains sounds the alarms at any sign of ‘danger,’ This causes a continual loop  of avoidance to stop the discomfort of taking any perceived ‘risks’. The problem is that most of these ‘risks’ are not really risk at all, but opportunities for growth and happiness. 

How We Can Help You

The good news is that we find attending just one Creature Courage animal phobia therapy session is sufficient for treating multiple phobias.   We have a very holistic approach, combining several different types of proven phobia fighting techniques. These techniques can be used for any anxiety or phobia.

Most importantly we give our clients to face their fears and have gentle but effective exposure therapy to the trigger animal. We design our exposure therapy to also address the deeper fear of uncertainty and feeling out of control.

Creature Courage is the UK’s leading animal phobia specialist, helping people overcome their animal fears. We run powerful one-on-one therapy to equip you with the skills to tame your fear of animals for good. We have spent years specialising specifically in treating animal phobias.  Using the power of neuroscience, we enable our clients to get over the fear of animals in just one day! Click HERE to learn more about our therapy.

We, also, offer you the opportunity to do one animal phobia therapy session and then arrange to do the immersive side of a different animal at a later date. Its fully possible to regain your freedom and live your life the way you want: Courageously, peacefully and without fear!

Call us on 0800 970 4417 or message us for more details and we’ll help put your mind at ease.

TheThe List of Common Animal Phobias

The Fear of Ants – Myrmecophobia

The Fear of Bats – Chiroptophobia

The Fear of Bears – Arkoudaphobia

The Fear of Bees –   Melissophobia & Apiphobia

The Fear of Birds –  Ornithophobia

The Fear of Butterflies – Lepidopterophobia

The Fear of Cats –      Ailurophobia

The Fear of Cockroaches – Katsaridaphobia

The Fear of Dogs –       Cynophobia

The Fear of Flies –Pteronarcophobia

The Fear of Frogs and Toads – Batrachophobia & Ranidaphobia

The Fear of Fish –    Ichthyophobia

The Fear of Horses – Equinophobia

The Fear of Insects – Entomophobia

The Fear of Lizards Herpetophobia

The Fear of Mice –      Musophobia

The Fear of Moths –   Mottephobia

The Fear of Rats –       Murophobia

The Fear of Reptiles and Amphibians –          Herpetophobia

The Fear of Rodents –    Suriphobia

The Fear of Sharks – Selachophobia, Galeophobia

The Fear of Snakes –Ophidiophobia

The Fear of Spiders – Arachnophobia

The Fear of Wasps – Spheksophobia

The Fear of Wolves –   Lupophobia

The Fear of Worms – Scoleciphobia