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Snakes in a Pit

Snakes in a Pit

We hope you don’t have ophidiophobia. Allison Sekuler assures us that only about 5.5% of the population has a serious fear of snakes, and it seems to start in infancy – with girls being about 4x more likely than boys to develop the fear. One study here:

The large one in the center is a female and the others are males, vying for her attention! 

Originally shared by ScienceSunday

Writhing in the Snake Pit

Manitoba may not be the first place you’d think of when you think of snakes, but it is home to the Narcisse Snake Dens, which plays host to 75,000 writhing red-sided garter snakes during mating season.

Although the temperature in Manitoba can go down to -40 deg (F and C, since they are equal at that temperature ;)), the snakes winter over underground, below the frostline, wriggling through cracks in the limestone in what’s effectively a massive snake housing complex.

If you don’t suffer from ophidiophobia – fear of snakes, check out the video in National Geographic’s wonderful story, by Christine Dell’Amore, on the snake dens, and the photographer who braved them to get some great views of the snakes during mating season (the gif here is a clip from that video). The story also contains some great additional information about snakes and the Narcisse Snake Dens; check it out here:

If you do suffer from ophidiophobia, never fear ;). You’re not alone, and recent work suggests that fear of snakes may serve an evolutionary function, and, although controversial, there may even be neurons that respond particularly well to snakes. For more on that, check out stories by:

Clara Moskowitz via +Li LiveScience Why We Fear Snakes


+Ca Carl Zimmer a +Th The New York Times Afraid of Snakes? Your Pulvinar May Be to Blame

#ScienceSunday #scisunABS

h/t Guy Kawasaki via HASO (


Join the Conversation


  1. I once worked in an office with two people – one with ophidiophobia and the other with ophidiophilia. The problem came when they had to use each other’s computers. Philia changed the background pic without thinking about it, and gave Phobia the heebyjeebies when logging in.


  2. Glad there aren’t too many snake haters/fearers in the comments. I’ve loved snakes since middle school, when my science teacher had two wonderful boa constrictors, named Kitty and Fang. Sweetest serpents in the world, and we’d all battle for a chance to host them over the holidays when school closed. 😉


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