What is Batrachophobia?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Batrachophobia is the fear of amphibians, such as frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. People with batrachophobia may experience symptoms of fear and anxiety when interacting with amphibians, looking at pictures or videos of them, or discussing them with other people. This phobia is not as unusual as people might think, for a variety of reasons, and it is fully treatable. People who experience hardships because of this phobia may want to consider treatment to resolve the phobia or help them feel more comfortable around amphibians.

A frog, which a batrachophobe would be frightened of.
A frog, which a batrachophobe would be frightened of.

People usually develop phobias in response to trauma. Because amphibians are commonly utilized in childhood pranks, it is not uncommon for people to have had traumatic experiences involving animals like frogs and toads. People may have been told that handling toads causes warts, have had frogs slipped into their clothing or desks, or been subjected to other pranks that led to the development of a phobia. Since fears of animals that appear harmless are often mocked, some people with batrachophobia experience secondary anxiety as a result of being teased about their phobia.

People who are told that holding toads will give them warts may develop batrachophobia.
People who are told that holding toads will give them warts may develop batrachophobia.

Different people have different triggers when it comes to phobias. When exposed to something that is triggering, a person with batrachophobia can experience an elevated heart rate, sweating, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, vertigo, and difficulty breathing. Sometimes this progresses into a full panic attack. People with batrachophobia may also have difficulty thinking clearly and communicating with people around them when they are exposed to amphibians.

Treatment for batrachophobia relies on exploring the trauma that caused the phobia, and gradually desensitizing the subject. In the short term, medications and techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises can be used to control phobic responses. In the long term, psychotherapy with a mental health professional can allow someone to slowly address the phobia. Some people benefit from treatment options such as group counseling and support groups as well.

It is important for people to be aware that while treatment for phobias does involve slowly helping people face their fears, this is done in a gradual desensitization. When a patient enters the therapist's office for the first time, the therapist will not plop a salamander into the patient's lap. People with phobias who are subjected to the objects of their fear by well meaning friends and family can actually develop more intense aversions to the object of the phobia. Friends and family who are receiving phobia treatment can provide information about things that people can do to help without causing regression in therapy.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Once of earliest recalled memories is of family's pet cat bringing a live frog into the room I was in and chasing it and making it squeal and me being a toddler at the time just feeling the most scared I have ever been in my life and I'm 22 now.

I can handle looking at frogs and being within a few metres of them even when they are not behind glass. But I absolutely flip out when they squeal when they are in distress. I recently watched a video of a young puppy chasing a frog and making it squeal (the frog was not harmed of course) but as soon as I heard that noise for one second, I almost went into a full panic attack with near hyper ventilation and cold sweating. Quite bizarre.


I have a fear of newts.

There is a pond behind my house and sometimes newts can be seen in the area. If I get even a glimpse of one, I have to go hide in my bedroom. I just feel like it's going to jump on me.

The weird part is that my husband has tried showing me pictures of them and I react the same way, even though it's just pictures.

Is anyone else afraid of newts?


@ysmina-- It's possible to have a phobia of almost anything. Batrachophobia is a more common phobia than we realize and the article mentioned some possible causes.

It's difficult for those of us who don't suffer from it to know how it feels. My sister has batrachophobia and I have witnessed what she can go through when there is a frog or toad near her. She basically has a panic attack from fear and has trouble breathing. She becomes very helpless, it's scary.

She is going to therapy now and I believe that she will overcome this fear that she developed in childhood. We should not mock people who have phobias. We have to be understanding and help them because it can happen to anyone.


I didn't know it's possible to have a phobia of amphibians. I don't like frogs either but I'm not scared of them. They're harmless.

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