Most people tend to view pets as warm, cuddly objects, worthy of love. But there are a lot of people out there who simply do not like animals. Frankly, they terrify them.
Why is this? What makes creatures so scary to some people?
Well, usually, it comes down to several distinct reactions. The main one is fear, but there’s also disgust and even superstition. We discuss all these concepts in more detail below.
Humanity evolved in a terrifying world. We never knew what type of creature was lurking around the corner, ready to gobble us up. And that led us to develop parts of the brain responsible for controlling our fear response. Evolution, in a sense, protected us by making us more scared, afraid to approach certain animals for fear of being bitten.
Humans are, in a sense, unique in terms of their feebleness. As far as animals go, we’re quite large. But other than that, our only real advantage is our brain. We don’t have particularly strong jaws or sharp teeth. Our muscularity is pathetic. And we can’t fight with bears or tigers because we have hands, not claws.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that many people are scared of regular pets, like dogs. You know, deep down, that if you got into a fight with a larger breed, you would lose. It is only by the grace of domestication that most people escape these situations. Even so, many wind up going to a dog bite lawyer because they get bitten. So it does still happen.
You’re Grossed Out
Other times, you’re scared of animals because they seem disgusting to you.
Think about the last time you saw a spider or a snake. Something about those creatures tugs on your emotions, and you do everything you can to get away from them.
Why is that? Well, again, evolutionary theory points to an answer. Scientists think that people feel the emotion of disgust around certain animals because they once harbored diseases or poisons that would make them sick.
Think about humans living on the savannas of Africa. There would have been all sorts of creepy crawlies in their environment. And many of them were highly dangerous. Thus, people who were naturally inclined to recoil at spiders and snakes were also those most likely to survive.
What about superstition? What role does that play in your fear of animals?
Well, historically, people believed that certain animals had certain negative powers or characteristics. Just think of the snake in the biblical story of the garden of Eden.
There are many other stories too that include bad animals who hurt or corrupted people.
Many religions, for instance, view birds as omens of death. Wise men of old would often go out into the wilderness, observe a crow cawing, and return to the king to tell him that a great plague was coming.
So maybe those are some of the reasons you’re terrified of animals. Some fear is actually sensible, but ideally, it shouldn’t dominate your life.
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