Fear of snakes (ophidiophobia) is a very common phobia. In many cases, there seems to be no apparent reason for it other than the fact that we are taught to think of these creatures as “evil” or “slimy” or “dangerous.”
Some snakes in fact are dangerous and they can poison people to death. However, more often than not a snake that appears in your yard or on a forest ground or anywhere else is harmless. Again, it depends on your local climate as to whether or not a snake is poisonous.
Why do people fear snakes?
It could be a cultural conditioning as described in this article’s intro. However, it could also be the result of a traumatic experience with a poisonous snake.
It could also just be the appearance of the snake, as its eyes often appear mysterious and it’s skin is very dry and scaly. Snakes in fact remind some people of alligators or crocodiles whose skin sheds in similar ways as a snake.
Sometimes these fears are rational and sometimes these fears are irrational. In any case, both adult and children are in need of ways to conquer these apprehensions.
If you are a person who wants to overcome fear of snakes you can do so using a variety of methods:
- Take medication. Doctor-prescribed anti-anxiety medications would work the best. However, some people have found solace in using an anxiety-reducing herb such as St. John’s Wort. Taking a higher dose of B Vitamins also helps decrease anxious symptoms.
- Gradually expose yourself to snakes. Maybe you can do to a reptile so or animal sanctuary where snakes of varying sizes may be located. You might also want to view pictures or videos of snakes until you can view them for long times without your heart jumping, palms sweating, mind racing, etc.
- Receive individual or group therapy. Anyone struggling with a phobia can benefit from one-on-one counseling sessions or group therapy. Sometimes these sessions are free while other times they are paid, depending upon the provider and intent of the group. The whole idea is to seek proper support while overcoming your phobia.
- Conduct breathing or relaxation exercises. For instance, you can breath in and breath out slowly in according to anti-anxiety and stress management tutorial instructions. You could also try any number of self-help techniques that are taught to you by supportive people, such learning how to imagine snakes as friendly versus vicious.
- Handle or pet a live snake. Garter and grass snakes are among those that are the most friendly. You could also try petting a boa constrictor. Eventually, you may conquer your fear of snakes so much that you may even be able to hold one in your hands or around your neck. This may take some amount of time to achieve, but it would be worth the effort if you can.
Just beware that not all snakes are harmful, but even some of the rather harmless snakes are not so friendly. Many species of snakes do not like to be held. If you want a pet snake at some point you should learn from a professional pet vendor or experienced snake pet owner what varieties make the best companions.
Other that that, just beware of the possible spread of diseases when handling reptiles. Snakes often can spread diseases if you are not careful when cleaning out their habitats and/or not protecting yourself or your household.