Why Do Majority Of People Still Fear Reptiles?

I understand snakes for example are not as domesticated as dogs or cats but in the year 2021 why still the fear? They say things like…’They are slimy’ or ‘They’ll eat you’ etc

What must we ALL do as a community to educate people alot better and guicker? Seems to me we are still way behind compared to other type of animals. We see them trying to put up bans on shipping in NY and what’s been happening in FL (I know a bit more complicated there due to invasive species) but maybe if there was a HUGE push to educate and maybe make many new people fall in love with these animals our pets future might be better. I recently met a very nice gal who showed interest in me (I’m a bachelor lol) but upon me mentioning all the snakes I had she pretty much said hell no bye bye :frowning:

I tried explaing how calm my animals are even the bigger one’s but no luck.

I’m not so financially rich as to be able to setup some organization here in my state locally at the moment but once I’m a bit more stable $$ wise I’d love to do something or get a group going (have meetings etc). I wish I was a millionaire n could do something huge for the community but not the case so hopefully a rich reptile keeper will someday come along and throw wads of $$$ at the cause :slight_smile:

Why do you guys feel there is still so much fear of reptiles? Do you all feel the fears the same between women and men?


I would think a part of people’s fears is the fact that many of the venomous one can kill you if they get you.

And a lot of people also don’t realize that, there really aren’t that many of them that are hot.

Plus there’s the fact that not one, but three major Faith’s that demonize the ever living poop out of them…you’ve got one heck of an uphill battle.

I’d say don’t try to stand on a soapbox and preach, that never works.
You can lead an Ass to water, you can’t make 'em drink.
Just inform those that want to be informed.

Make a YouTube or some kind of social media account and just show off your love for the animals and why you think they’re amazing.

You’d be surprised how many people’s minds you’ll change that way.


What @jes3721 said. I follow tarantula and jumping spider groups on FB and you would be surprised by how many people on there say that they are actually afraid of spiders, but they saw how colorful or cute and funny the spiders can be and want to try and get over that fear. All just by seeing pictures or videos of them doing cute or funny things, no preaching or soapboxing required lol. Heck even when the spider throws up a defense pose, if you put a cute caption like “aww, look it wants a hug!” it makes it seem less threatening or scary. I think the same can be done with snakes, or really any less popular pets. It will require people to actually want to get over their fears, but people who don’t won’t want anything to do with you anyway.


That reminds me of when I worked at Amazon. A lady there found out I own snakes and said I was Satan and wouldn’t even let me speak lmao. Wish we had a bring your pet to work day do I could have heard screams from her. :joy:

Honestly it mainly boils down to how people are raised, ignorance, and even arrogance at times.


Most people are afraid of what they dont understand and are set in their ways that if it isn’t furry four-legged and cuddly then its out to get you. Humanity has lost touch with nature and all the neat lifeforms it has to offer and is fairly ignorant/self-absorbed to make changes and see these creatures for what they are.


Lol I keep telling people at work that if we ever had bring your pet to work day I’d be stumbling thru the door with hands full a snakes and lizards…I’d put one in everyones lunch box (as a temp hide :slight_smile:). I can imagine their surprise (or heart attack) when a snake pops up and bops them in the nose.


Fear exists in every category. Some fears are somewhat rational, while others are wildly overboard.

In my generation, one of two things happened. You had a positive experience, or you had a negative experience.

My positive experience was being allowed to explore the woods at a young age, which led me to discover snakes before anyone’s (parent or otherwise) opinion/depiction could influence my reaction. The result? I saw a snake and I caught it. Pure fascination took me away.

A negative experience is as easy as the media. How many of us saw the movie Arachnophobia as a youngster? Or JAWS?

Sometimes we never try to rationalize the negative experiences. Took me a rather long time to develop an appreciation for spiders, but I chose to educate myself and explore a world of amazing creatures of colors and habits I never dreamt of.

I still cringe at the thought of swimming in the ocean, even though I know the statistics now. Maybe I’m too focused on what kind of luck I have. :wink:

Education is the key to expanding the human mind. But remember, we don’t learn things well if we don’t develop a genuine interest.

This is why we loved Steve Irwin, Jack Hannah, well, the list really goes on. Personalities made us want to know more.

Last, as you might think fear is rampant in our hobby, take a moment to consider just how big this hobby is right now. Reptile shows are packed more than ever, YouTube channels are getting millions of views. Pet stores are adding expensive animals to purchase.

We’ve come so far, and it will all continue to grow beyond our imaginations. Our best foot forward is an educated approach to caring for the animals we keep, positive interactions worldwide, and owning up to the responsibilities of our privileges with our beloved pets.

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I personally know more men that are scared of my snakes then women. One wouldn’t even come to my house for a poker tournament. I was the, dirt bike riding kid, that would go look for lizards and snakes with no shoes on in the field next door. Nobody told me to be scared of them. My parents just showed me what ones I do not pick up (rattle snakes are pretty big in my area) they bought me all types of pets growing up. As the post above, it’s definitely how someone is raised. Raise them with knowledge and they won’t have the fear. We also had someone local called “reptile man” and he would come to our schools and educate us. If more programs like these would be allowed and not banned like they are trying to do, reptiles probably wouldn’t be feared so much.


A bit late to the thread but I also think that a lot of the fear comes from experiences when growing up. If young children are exposed to snakes and reptiles at a young age (demonstrations, shows, schools, exploring, etc.) then they’ll be less afraid of them and more interested in them and their conservation. Unfortunately a lot of children’s books depict snakes as the evil or negative character (possibly encouraged by extremist animal rights groups).

Edit: Also a lot of the fear comes from all of the stories on the news. Reptiles “killing” people (even if most are recklessness and/or wasn’t the reptiles fault) and all of the “injuries” and “damage” caused by reptiles. All of the experiences put reptiles and snakes in a negative light and people don’t hear any positives about reptiles.


A lot of good points made! I think a big basis for the fear of snakes is actually evolutionary. Our closest relatives also demonstrate a fear of snakes. And it makes sense that our ancestors who feared snakes, and therefore stayed away from them, would be less likely to be killed by a venomous snake and therefore live to pass on their genes. Where the love of snakes comes from, I haven’t any idea! I’ve loved snakes for as long as I can remember, despite my own mother’s intense fear and dislike of them.


My guess is curiosity. When you’re curious about something you’re more likely to respect and learn about it and therefore figure out how to be safer around a certain element/threat.


My curiosity went up big time after I purchased my 1st corn snake many years ago. It pretty much became an obsession after that. They are quite, don’t poop every day and don’t have to let them out to poop or pee like dogs. They’re available in hundreds if not thousands of different colors, morphs, species. They don’t require a ton of space and they actually bite less then a chihuahua for example jaja Oh and majority of time hurts less then a dog bite. Whats not to like?


I live in the deep south. There would be a mass exodus from the building if I brought a snake to work. When people try to talk to me about snakes tempting Eve, middle of the Bible belt too, I say something like, that was a Serpent, not a snake and make whatever argument I can. I mean their book is a translation of a story written in ancient Hebrew. I then show a nice snake picture or tell them about all of the good snakes to in the environment.

I agree, education is the key but we can also listen to the snakeless and try to put a positive spin on some of their concerns.


According to the article young children were good at spotting snakes and spiders, but not afraid of them. This ability could be a survival thing to be safe from snakes, but it could also be a survival thing if gathering snakes for food.
Personally, I think the fear is learned. When I was around 7 my dad brought me a good sized gopher snake home in his lunch pail. My mom rushed around the house screaming. (he didn’t tell her it was in there and she opened the pail) she scared me, but I was fond of animals and ended up keeping it a few days before letting it go. I have never been afraid of snakes but I am afraid of spiders. Both of my parents were too.


My stepmom was given a cornsnake when she was younger from the reptile shop that was next door to hers. She said she learned not to be afraid of them by actually having to take care of one, since as a kid she grew up in the west, lots of rattlers, and her parents hated snakes.

Personally I found my love of snakes through youtube when watching bird care videos. A friend of mine got a bird and our whole friend group went nuts. We all did a bunch of research wanting a bird, but I found reptiles through it and haven’t looked back. I know I wouldn’t be able to care for a bird, as much as I love them, but I would be able to take care of a reptile!


YouTube can have a big impact. I got interested in “The Dark Den” I’m still afraid if spiders but I own several tarantulas.


I was always taught as a kid to stay away from snakes. My Dad would kill them if they came around the house. My Mom would not tolerate them at all.
We had Copperhead’s where we lived.
I really wasn’t scared of them, just very cautious. A few years ago I was bitten by a Brown recluse and I don’t like spiders at all. It crawled in my bed while I was asleep. Sorry, but if a spider gets in the house it is dead.
Yuk! Just afraid of getting bit again.


Evolution would be my guess like @wmb1965 said I was always told to stay away from snakes plius I live in Florida near a river so we do have venomous nearby. I taught my kids to stay away from snakes that arent ours lol but they know why.

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I was taught to kill western Diamond back rattle snakes on sight. (Barbaric) I was reading one of Linda Tellington Jones books, not sure which one, but she was talking about an insight she had when she started to kill a rattle snake and how the snake was minding it’s business when she came after it. She discovered that she could carefully relocate a venomous snake if she wasn’t afraid and not thinking violent thoughts. I feel bad for the few rattlers I attacked and have never offered to hurt one again. (I did carefully relocate a sidewinder once, it was cooperative and never offered to strike or even rattle.)