Visit a local zoo, and you will likely find lots of visitors that “Ooh” and “Ah” and “Wow” about the feathery, furry, or scaly residents in each enclosure. Look around until you spot a school field trip or another group of guests, and you may see some folks who are standing back a bit and looking rather uneasy. They may have zoophobia.
Zoophobia is the fear of animals.
It’s not just holding animals in awe. This is abject terror of any or all beasts. Plenty of people are legitimately scared of birds, bugs, crabs, elephants, fish, goats, horses, kangaroos, lions, lizards, monkeys, snakes, turtles, or other creatures. This may be zoophobia.
A person with zoophobia is not likely to enjoy a trip to the animal farm, aquarium, bird sanctuary, circus, nature conservancy, wildlife reserve, or zoo. And they probably won’t cozy up to your pets, either.
They’re not animal-haters. They are simply afraid. And this phobia is very real.
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