For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals
A truly classic phobia which plagues millions of people globally, Arachnophobia truly cannot be beaten. Perhaps it is their creepy-crawly plethora of spindly legs or the fear of their minuscule but deadly (and possibly poisonous!) bite, but whatever it is spiders will always possess a particular grip on so many people’s hearts. Out of the 50,000 species of spiders, only about 25 possess a serious level of illness to afflict a human being.
Another fear which women are more likely to have than men, the scaly, reptilian nature of snakes tends to make them more likely to arouse terror than the admiration of a fluffier, softer animal. Although perhaps a more well-founded fear–of 3,500 snake species, 600 snake species are considered venomous and posses the ability to injure human beings after biting them–even the most peaceful of snakes can cause exclamations of fear when spotted.
Although dogs, common pets, tend to be much more universally liked than hated like snakes or spiders, many people are terrified by their supposed canine companions. Often stemming from a negative experience in childhood, the gnashing teeth and bark of dogs can make them seem incredibly scary, especially large dogs with bad reputations such as Pitbulls and Doberman Pinschers. Regardless, you’ll be much more likely to run into dogs as dog-fearer than run into a snake slithering down the sidewalk!
Besides the infamous Alfred Hitchcock movie, the fear of birds likely emerges from being bitten by their sharp beaks, perhaps misunderstanding the behavior cues of them or unknowingly wandering past a nest. Even as someone who loves birds I can understand fearing them, based on how truly alien and different they appear from us mammals.
Interestingly enough, growing up playing at farm camps in the summer and chasing after chickens all week I can also understand having a fear of chickens, especially roosters. They can be incredibly aggressive and nippy animals when not prepared for being handled. I suppose they don’t pose a huge risk of deathly attack but their opportunistic beaks and gripping, scaly claws tell you that you would be in trouble if you switched roles in size, no doubt! LOL!
As generally harmless, common companions I believe that it is truly the fear of their inability to be controlled or responsive in the same way dogs are that makes people dislike or even be scared of cats. They’re not known for being obedient, subservient or necessarily very predictable–and will tell you when they’re displeased with your behavior! Additionally, their long, incredibly sharp claws (when not declawed) and teeth can cause some damage, especially to a young child who perhaps doesn’t recognize the chagrin of an annoyed cat.
A fear that the “Wormy” episode of Spongebob explored quite well, those majestic flapping butterflies and other small, generally likable insects can look quite horrific up close! Again, not incredibly dangerous to human beings (even painfully-stinging bugs like bees or wasps), but certainly making up for it in freakish capabilities, winged insects possess a level of alien strangeness akin to that of birds-but taken to a whole new level! It’s quite clear that they possess such a different way of moving and feeling through the world that it’s difficult to not feel disconcerted at their presence occasionally.
Popularized by another infamous horror movie, this time Jaws by Steven Spielberg, the destruction which sharks may bring is certainly overstated–according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science, only 10 deaths are attributed to shark attacks worldwide. Indeed, through delicacies like shark fin soup, pollution and habitat destruction we likely kill a hundred times more sharks than they kill us yearly. Regardless, the overwhelming feeling of being out-of-our-realm (or a fish out of water, hah!) when swimming in the ocean is incredibly powerful (and fear-inducing, so I’ll give you that).
Since cockroaches are associated with pestilence, disease and rot (which they do somewhat represent, as consumers of most organic matter in addition to decaying/dead matter), it would be difficult to not at least revile them in that sense. Especially when it comes to the idea of having cockroaches scuttling under your bed or by the refrigerator, in your personal space, could induce a good skin-crawl if not a scream and leap.
Not as popular as its aforementioned cousin, the fear of sharks, the fear of fish is particularly common in certain cultures, which either view them as sacred or taboo to eat. The smell and taste of fish can be enough to upset or disgust many people, although an outright terror is more rare.