This is a very common fear, and I admit, I used to have it myself. This is the fear of snakes. You very often hear of people who say they hate snakes or are afraid of them. I personally think it's a shame because the non-venomous species are a LOT of FUN!!!!! But I admit I used to be afraid of snakes myself. I've always been an animal lover! But my first encounter with a snake was terrifying. I was 5 years old at the time and me and my sis and a friend of her's were playing in the backyard together. All of a sudden, this little green grass snake races across our yard. All I saw was how fast it was moving and it scared the petunias out of me! I started screaming and crying. My pa came out and caught the snake and put it in an old coffee tin and put it in his tool shed. A few days later, I actually got curious about it, and I went out to his shed, found the coffee tin I saw him put the snake in, and looked to see if it was still in there. It wasn't. I think he took the snake and dumped it out in the woods. To this day I have no idea what my reaction would have been like if the snake had still been in that coffee tin and it crawled out at me when I opened it! But for some reason, I was ready to see that snake face-to-face. I think it was more the sudden movement in the grass, and the fact I couldn't see the snake very well at first that scared me more than the actual animal.
The fear of snakes is totally inborn. It has been suggested that it goes all the way back to our early primate ancestors. Lemurs and monkeys have always been preyed upon by snakes, and snakes have been chowing down on primates much longer than any of their other predators. Many kinds of primates even have a specific alarm call exclusive to spotting snakes. Today, monkeys and lemurs still fall prey to snakes, and even captive-bred specimens react in a violent way to the sight of even a small snake. I was searching around for some info on this, and I came across an article that said that it was our early ancestor's fear of snakes that made us what we are today. We are more intelligent than other animals our size, and we have very good eyesight, better than those of other mammals. This is an adaptation primates developed early on to be able to detect venomous snakes and stay away from them. Today however, snakes are among the most misunderstood animals of them all. Though it is true that there are some snakes that have a poisonous bite, and many people do die of snakebite each year, not all snakes are venomous. And any snake is beneficial in that they eat destructive rodents.
In religion, snakes are totally maligned. You'd be hard pressed to find a christian person who loves snakes, except me. And even the person who wrote this article I read refers to all snake lovers as "freaks", except her daughter, who owns a corn snake. Well, by now you know how I am, I proudly admit I am something of a "freak", and I love being different! As a child, I became more afraid of dogs than I was of snakes. But the fear of snakes is a part of our nature, and you will notice many people still hold those primordial fears of snakes.
Well, I actually learned to love snakes when I got older and understood them better. I used to go out and catch garter snakes in this grassland near our house. That was my fun as an 8-year old child, lifting rocks and logs and looking to see if there was a snake underneath. I always got excited when I did see one. I've even had snakes as pets in the past. They are the most docile and gentle of pets. Though they can feel even the slightest bit of fear in a person, and sometimes will attack because of that. Though some snake species are rather flighty even in captivity, there are many very sweet, and gentle species that make wonderful pets. And of course there is another thing. Snakes, whether you like them or not, are BEAUTIFUL!!!! Snakes are like Nature's canvas to display her remarkable talent in painting. And the World is her gallery. Snakes have unbelievable patterns on their bodies that make them so unique among animals. Some of my most favorites are:
Green Tree Python.
Malaysian Blue Coral Snake (though these are venomous).
San Francisco Garter Snake.
Coral Snake (These guys are venomous too).