23 September 2011

Scared of Snakes? Help is at Hand...

Over the years, Froglife staff have tried to help members of the public rationalise their phobia of snakes. Particularly in the UK, where the animals are generally harmless, a strong fear of going anywhere near them can cause unnecessary stress for both humans and snakes, and in the worst instances lead to their persecution. We were really interested in reading about Anxiety UK’s work to help people tackle their irrational fears.

The mental health charity’s ‘Face your Fears’ week starts next week from Monday 26th September until the 2nd of October. Amongst other events is an Animal Encounter workshop in Manchester on Monday, where you can come face to face with snakes and spiders. More information about Face Your Fears is available hereFurther help and advice on phobias is also available on their website here.

Through discussions with people at events and through our Wildlife Information Service it seems that fear of snakes and also of frogs and toads can lead to people feeling so anxious about their presence they want them removed from their garden. In some cases they might ‘frog-proof’ their outdoor space, or perhaps even kill or injure animals.
Froglife's giant cuddly grass-snake is always a big hit with young people
In contrast to this, we also meet all sorts of people, young and old, who are fascinated by reptiles and amphibians and will do anything to help them, including encouraging them into their gardens and becoming a Froglife Friend to support conservation work. In many cases, interested adults have inspired children not to be afraid of the animals but to quietly observe them, and through this early exposure, spark a life-long fascination.

Froglife sympathises with anyone with a phobia and recognises how debilitating this can be. However, our job to protect reptiles and amphibians would be a lot easier if these misunderstood animals were more loved! Help for phobias is out there, and the old expression is also true - the animals are much more scared of you than you are of them, often with good reason.
Froglife's work to conserve reptiles and amphibians in the wild could not continue without your help.  You can find out more about supporting our work here.

Photo: Tracy Roberts

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