The 10 Weirdest and Most Wild Animals Phobias

Written by Sam Hindman
Published: November 27, 2023
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Nearly everyone in this world is afraid of something. Whether that fear be of a broad concept like death or loneliness, or something more tangible like heights and enclosed spaces, it’s more likely than not that you’ve developed some variety of phobias in your lifetime. However, not all fears are created equal! There are certainly some that are more out there than others. In this article, we’ll be detailing ten of the weirdest animal phobias. From cute little kitties to majestic horses, you’ll be surprised that there are those who can’t stand the sight of some of your favorite animals!

1. Equinophobia (Horses)

Oldenburg horse jumping

A fear of horses might stem from childhood trauma.

©Clément Bucco-Lechat / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

As we mentioned in our introduction, there are those who are fearful of horses! This kind of phobia likely emerged from a traumatic childhood experience involving these bucking broncos. That could be in the form of a bad fall, watching someone else get injured, or even being exposed to one too many re-runs of Dark Horse. In any case, people with this phobia can’t stand to be around these majestic creatures, even despite their popularity and loyal reputation.

2. Ornithophobia (Birds)

Pair of Gadwall birds soaring over a tranquil lake

Ornithophobia, or the fear of birds, isn’t specific to one kind of bird and is instead a general term.

©Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

Though there are some who have a fear of a particular kind of avian creature, the term Ornithophobia refers to those who are indiscriminately afraid of all bird species. While birds are beloved by many, there are certainly reasons why one might not appreciate having them around. After all, their sharp beaks have the potential to poke at us, and their unpredictability means they could swoop down at a moment’s notice. That said, the likelihood of them doing so is minimal at best.

3. Lepidopterophobia (Butterflies)

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) in bloom with a monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) feeding on nectar in the flowers

©Nancy J. Ondra/Shutterstock.com

With the sheer number of big and small creepy crawlies out there, it’s expected that there would be those with an intense fear of bugs. However, a type of bug that usually receives a great deal of grace is the butterfly. These gorgeous insects have beautifully patterned wings and don’t cause any harm to humans, making this one of the weirdest animal phobias related to insects. Nicole Kidman, a popular American celebrity with this phobia, reports that the feel of their legs and bodies is what frightens her most.

4. Alektorophobia (Chickens)

Chicken Araucana - hens

Alektorophobia, the fear of chickens, is a rare variation of Ornithophobia.

©MATTHIASRABBIONE/iStock via Getty Images

If you thought that Ornithophobia was a bizarre phobia, then wait until you hear about Alektorophobia! Those with this phobia have an intense fear of chickens, roosters, and hens. This is quite interesting when you consider how harmless and commonplace these birds really are! It’s likely that those with this phobia have repressed trauma related to these birds. That, or the peck of their beaks simply gives them the chills!

5. Musophobia (Mice)

Little pet: mouse on arm. Long haired decorative little mouse. Home animal, fun pet. Cute mice. Bicolor splashed mouse on white background. Decorative satin mouse. Photo of mice, pet. Animal and hand

Despite their cutesy faces, there are those who are extremely fearful of mice!

©Sergey Bezgodov/Shutterstock.com

Our next fear is one of the small and squeaky variety. According to a YouGov poll, 17% of British citizens reported having a fear of mice. 9% said that their fear was “severe,” constituting a phobia. The official name for this fear of mice is Musophobia. While this isn’t one of the weirdest animal phobias, it’s definitely not a societal norm. Usually, people would opt to be scared of a more intimidating rodent, like a rat or ferret. Who knows, maybe a tiny mouse has the ability to stir up far more trouble than it lets on!

6. Cynophobia (Dogs)

Dogs for Boomers

Although you might never have felt afraid of your furry friend, there are some who have an intense fear of dogs!

©A-Z-Animals.com/AZ Animals

For an animal frequently referred to as “man’s best friend,” it can read as a bit odd for someone to be fearful of dogs. However, this phobia is more commonplace than one might think and can stem from a range of interactions during one’s youth. There are also varying degrees to which one possesses Cynophobia. Some are afraid of certain breeds, others are just frightened when a dog is in the same room, and some won’t even leave home if they suspect a dog may be outside.

7. Ichthyophobia (Fish)

Rougheye rockfish

If fish give you the creeps, then you might have a case of Ichthyophobia!

©Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

A horse might stomp on you, and a dog might bite you- to this degree, the aforementioned phobias make some sense. There isn’t a likelihood for a fish to put you in harm’s way, though! So, why is it that Ichthyophobia exists? This fear of fish is certainly one of the weirdest animal phobias on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Some with Ichthyophobia say that their fear comes from interactions during their youth where fish have jumped onto them or into their boat, giving them quite a fright!

8. Ailurophobia (Cats)

Red (orange) and white tabby domestic cat

Even if you think your cat wouldn’t hurt a fly, there are some who find them even scarier than bears!

©Hisashi from Japan / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

When you think of a frightening cat, chances are that a lion or tiger might be the first image to pop into your mind. But for someone with Ailurophobia, their first thought goes to housecats! Much like the fear of dogs, there is a wide range of factors that could contribute to this kind of phobia. Not to mention, there is a scale of severity that goes in tandem with this fear. Some might jump at the sound of a meow, while others might not enter a home with a resident kitty.

9. Lutraphobia (Otters)

Otter, River Otter, River, Photography, Animals In The Wild

If you’re fearful of otters or weasels, then you might have a case of Lutraphobia.

©Cloudtail_the_Snow_Leopard/ via Getty Images

One of the weirdest animal phobias on this list is likely that of Lutraphobia, or fear of otters. This is because otters are notoriously respectful of their own business, and it’s likely that many won’t even encounter one in their lifetimes. Despite this, some people simply cannot stand the look of these creatures. This probably stems from their relation to the weasel family, with a fear of weasels being quite common in comparison.

10. Ostraconophobia (Shellfish)

Fresh seafood platter with lobster,mussels and oysters

Someone with Ostraconophobia probably won’t want to be invited to your next seafood boil!

©Artur Begel/Shutterstock.com

We talked a bit about Ichthyophobia, but perhaps an even stranger animal phobia is Ostraconophobia! Finishing off our list with the fear of shellfish, this phobia causes those who see lobsters, clams, and crabs to shiver with fright! Even though (like most animals on this list) there’s no practical reason to be afraid of these creatures, there are those who can’t even be in the same room as someone snacking on a crab leg or sucking down an oyster!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Sam Hindman is a writer at A-Z animals covering a range of topics, including pet care, plant care, pest control and travel destinations. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Studies at Point Park University, set to graduate in the spring of 2024. A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she isn't writing, she's spending time with her beloved cat Archie.

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