Snakes are terrifying creatures for many people. Some people argue that the way they move, slither, and slide just looks unnatural. A fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias that humans experience. Often this fear is linked to a bad experience with snakes in the past. It is also often caused by the way that they are presented in the media. Snakes are not as bad as they are made out to be, of course. There are many steps you can take to get rid of a fear of snakes. Follow these suggestions to find out how! Maybe you won’t be best pals with snakes at the end of this process, but perhaps you can find a way to manage their presence.
1. Know the causes.
There are three mean reasons that people often develop a fear of snakes. If someone has personally been threatened by a snake, or saw a threatening event taking place, they are likely to develop a fear of snakes. Perhaps you stepped on one as a child, or some cruel bully chased you around with a garter snake. A bad experience with a snake is tough to get over, of course.
Like any behavior, a fear of snakes can also be learned. Snakes are not exactly popular pets. In fact they are often made to look as evil as possible. You will have a hard time finding a movie or television show with a ‘good’ snake in it. Harry Potter has an awful snake, for instance. Or the classic film Snakes on a Plane that is entirely dedicated to snakes coming out of nowhere to ruin people’s day. And popular films are not likely to downplay snakes any time soon, either.
Either way, there is a chance that you have been conditioned through a life experience or through a learning process to have this fear of snakes. A fear of snakes is not necessary a natural reaction!
2. Write down your fears.
One of the best ways to get to know your fear is to write about it. Ask yourself these questions: why are you are afraid of snakes? Where does this fear come from? You can also talk about your opinions on snakes. Write down anything you might have on your mind about snakes. What are your opinions about them?
Describing snakes is one of the best ways to get to know them, and find out what you yourself know about them.
3. Find your fear.
Writing down your fears is a good step to finding what the cause of this fear might be. Can you identify the reason that snakes get on your nerves? Was it a bad experience that you might have had? Or do you generally just not like them?
If you cannot place the fear, chances are it is the result of the media constantly telling you that snakes are awful and evil. Whatever the case might be, knowing is one of the key steps to getting rid of a fear of snakes. Once you know why you have this fear, you will have a better idea of what steps you need to follow to deal with the fear head on.
4. Learn about snakes.
Chances are the things you know or have learned in the past about snakes are wrong. Maybe they are really not as bad as you thought!
Finding out more information about them can help you get rid of your fear of snakes. Is the information that you have about snakes actually right? Having the correct facts in front of you can go a long way to unlearn anything that people might have told you about snakes or that you have seen in different movies or shows.
A great way to help with this learning process is to look at pictures or watch videos of snakes. Do snakes actually move the way you think they do? Do they actually have superpowers like super speed? You will likely find that they do not, in fact. Watching or seeing pictures of snakes might seem difficult to some, but it is an important step. After all, the best way to defeat your enemy is to know them! Defeat your fears by educating yourself.
5. Find a therapist.
If you think the above suggestions are not making the problem any better, it may be time to find a therapist to help you with your fear. You should not feel bad about doing so! Many people have a fear of snakes; you are not alone in this. And it is not the easiest fear to get rid of either.
Talking through your fear of snakes with an expert can be very useful for you. If you are having problems guiding yourself in the right direction, a therapist can show you the best steps to take.
You will likely start by talking through the issues you have with snakes, and a therapist will give you a series of activities or exercises to try so that any conditioning that has caused a fear of snakes will gradually go away.
6. Use a fake snake.
Sometimes it is just the idea of a snake that makes people uncomfortable. Using a toy snake can help you with this! Start with a plush stuffed animal snake toy and work your way up. Just holding a toy in your hand is a big step in the right direction.
After you have tried a plush toy, try handling a plastic or rubber snake toy. Some of these toys are very life-life and can help you imagine what it is like to be around a snake, but in a non-threatening way. You control everything about these toys, not the other way around!
A third step you can try is to touch a snakeskin. Snakes often shed their skin and leave it behind for anyone to find! Many campgrounds or nature parks have snakeskins available for you to see and touch. Does the skin feel like you thought it might? Some clothing is made from real or fake snakeskin as well. See if a friend has an article of clothing made of snakeskin that you can try touching.
7. See a snake.
Once you have built up your courage, it might be time to go see a snake! Find an area that has snakes that are held in captivity.
A snake inside a glass case cannot suddenly escape, so you can safely view the snake from whatever distance you feel the most comfortable with. If you have a friend that owns a snake, try going to their place to see their snake. You can also try going to a zoo, or to your local pet store. Chances are the snake will be coiled up trying to stay warm. Snakes get cold too!
8. Touch or hold a snake.
This is a huge step for many people! But it can also be one of the most important ones. You may find that your fears are simply not going away, even with therapy, or after you have tried some of these other approaches.
Go to your local nature center if they have snakes. Chances are the snake will be in a bigger enclosure than what they would be in at the zoo or in someone’s home, so it will be a more natural environment for the snake. The snake handler can answer any questions you might have about snakes, and will supervise the entire process from start to finish.
You can touch a snake without actually holding it! Many snakes do not move around much a lot of the time so you can touch it carefully without anything crazy happening. Be sure to only try this if you are feeling comfortable.
Finally, you might want to try holding a snake! This is a big step for many people. Going to a nature center is one of the best ways to do this. While you can often hold a snake at a pet store, or hold a snake that belongs to your friend, chances are they might not have the best advice on how to best handle and hold a snake. You do not want to panic, of course! That won’t be good for you or the snake. Get the handler to hold the snake first so you can see what the best approach is. Then try it yourself!
Getting rid of a fear of snakes is no easy task. Most adults (whether they will admit it or not) have this fear and do not feel comfortable with the idea of snakes at all. It will likely take some work for you to reach a point where you no longer fear snakes. You want to be sure that you do not rush into any efforts too quickly, of course. Follow these stages one step at a time. You will not get to the stage where you can touch or even hold a snake just out of nowhere! You might even need some professional help from a therapist to help you with this. The best way to deal with your fears is to face them, however. Your fear of snakes is not likely to go away on its own. You will need to work at it. But if you stay committed to this effort, you will get rid of your fear of snakes before you know it!