The word ophidiophobia comes from the Greek words "ophis" which refers to snakes and [of course] "phobia" meaning fear. Fear of snakes is much more prevalent than most animal phobias, partially due to the fact that snakes [are f***ing scary and] have been able to survive in almost all climates and terrain be it jungle, forest, farm land, mountain...land or sea.
Although this post was inspired by SNAKES ON A PLANE, Samuel L Jackson's latest action thriller, I have had many personal experiences that promote my own ophidiophobia -more below. Back to the film: it is already a cult hit - "weeks before it is due to be shown in cinemas. During production it was decided that some scenes should be re-shot and others added to give the movie a harder edge. The impetus for the re-edit came from fans' comments on the internet. The studio heard them and they let it happen," said Jackson. It is a curious and perhaps unique example of internet buzz shaping the final look of a movie - one that no one, not even film critics, has yet seen."
As Borys Kit, from The Hollywood Reporter, told us "In this case, it wasn't the usual reshoot, hastily assembled to fix a nagging story problem. Instead, the studio decided to create new scenes that would take the movie from PG-13 into R-rated territory.The second round of filming also came about because of intense and growing fan interest in the movie, which was directed by David R. Ellis and is not scheduled to be released until Aug. 18.
"Snakes" stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent who has to fight a planeload of snakes unleashed by an assassin bent on killing a witness in protective custody. Sight unseen, the movie has grown from something of a joke into a phenomenon slithering untamed throughout the Internet.
This is clearly one of those films you'll either be dying to see or won't even dare read about; the fear is almost tangible and has been studied in depth: here Ker Than, a Staff Writer of LiveScience , tells us "An evolutionary arms race between early snakes and mammals triggered the development of improved vision and large brains in primates, a radical new theory suggests. The idea, proposed by Lynne Isbell, an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis, suggests that snakes and primates share a long and intimate history, one that forced both groups to evolve new strategies as each attempted to gain the upper hand. Abstract and access to the article by L.A. Isbell here.
"If snake and primate history are as intimately connected as Isbell suggests, then it might account for other things as well. "Snakes and people have had a long history; it goes back to long before we were people in fact," he said. "That might sort of explain why we have such extreme attitudes towards snakes, varying from deification to "ophidiphobia,"...
Other recent research is connected to this, for instance: Ottmar Lipp from The School of Psychology, The University of Queensland: "Of snakes and flowers: does preferential detection of pictures of fear-relevant animals in visual search reflect on fear-relevance?" and "The role of the amygdala in human fear: automatic detection of threat" by Arne Ohman of The Psychology Section, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute and Hospital in Sweden.
All the above could of course stem from previous work published in National Geographic several years ago: "This time difference, according to the researchers, suggests that the feared objects 'popped out' from the display and were detected more automatically. In a related experiment, the researchers found that people who had indicated on a questionnaire that they were afraid of snakes or spiders identified the fear-inducing images even faster than they identified the objects that did not evoke fear. This quicker response by people with a phobia about snakes and spiders is an emotional reaction that enables them to better avoid the objects they fear, the researchers said.
Even 'harmless' snakes like the grass snake pictured here can cause problems if you've a weak heart! Back to my own experiences, which you presume to be more like this, [...warning: please don't follow the links if you are a bit sacred and likely to have nightmares! Also, please don't read on if you don't like rude language :-)...] (although I'm no Mark O'Shea seen here with a 12ft green anaconda in the Venezuelan Llanos) almost on a daily-ish basis they would involve rattlers and anacondas. ...motherfucker! That's one big motherfucking snake, as Samuel L.J. would say.