Scared of snakes?

Are you scared of snakes? Lots of people are. It’s called ophidiophobia and scientists say that this might be a kind of evolutionary response going way back. After all, some snakes can be deadly and others can give a really sore bite.

Snakes have always been depicted as being evil

So it is no wonder so many people have this fear. Snakes are found all over the world and in fact right here in our back garden. Out at the weekend for a walk in Fish Creek Park and I heard a lady scream and saw her jump up head on the lane. She had nearly trodden on a snake. I have never seen a snake in Fish Creek before but had hardly taken a few steps and sure enough one slithered across the path in front of us.

So if you are really paranoid about snakes where can you go on vacation? According to Nat Geo – An unlikely tale, perhaps—yet Ireland is unusual for its absence of native snakes. It’s one of only a handful of places worldwide—including New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica—where Indiana Jones and other snake-averse humans can visit without fear.

So how’s that? Ireland has no snakes. We can thank St Patrick for that – or maybe the ice age. It’s weird though that Ireland has no snakes and England does. I remember growing up and being told to watch out for the snakes because a bit can kill you. That’s not really that accurate and it still didn’t keep us out of the meadows and the long grass but the Adder was something that you didn’t want to run into.

So then where do the deadliest snakes in the world live? Sorry to say that it is Africa – East Africa and South East Africa – around Mozambique. I have been to both places and I can’t say I have ever seen a snake there. Probably because they generally scoot out of the way when they hear us humans lumbering up. When we stayed on Safari in Tanzania we stayed in some tented accommodation. When I say tented I mean really luxurious.

We heard a lion passing by in the night but of course, we would never hear a snake even if it did pass our tent. I have also camped on a much more modest basis in South Africa. I am talking two-man tent in the middle of the game reserve with no fences around us. Now, what on earth kept the snakes away from there because, honestly, I never saw one? Maybe it was the hyenas. As we settled down to sleep a group of hyenas (known as a cackle) descended upon our camp and proceeded to have a fight over the leftover dinner. Any self-respecting snake would have got out of there pretty quickly.

So don’t let these sort of fears keep you from travelling. I have had people asking me about bugs and yes you will find bugs in tropical places. One poor lady said that ants were coming into her bure in the Cook Islands and so she wanted to go home right away. It’s not just in the Cook Islands, however. Another family staying at a hotel near Disneyland had the same ant problem with them coming into the room under the skirting board. Their solution? They sealed the whole gap with toothpaste. I bet it was peppermint and that’s what kept the ants away. Do ants even have teeth???

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Yes snakes in Fish Creek park, I believe the bluff above the ranch house is off limits due to garter snakes dens


  2. What an interesting article. Thank you. I have always wanted to take a Safari but the idea of sleeping in a tent has deterred me.


  3. On Our Australia trip I was so freaking Out about snakes, that it took some of the pleaser of travel a way, but then they told me about the more poison spiders
    That was a big danger. I am not going back to Australia 😳😫😱


  4. Interesting.
    Maybe it depends on how you define ‘deadliest’. See: which lists the top 2 as Taipans in Australia. On hikes in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, I/we would often see poisonous snakes but not taipans and most of them were not very deadly.
    The humble Mosquito is the deadliest insect reportedly killing over 700,000 people per year. Take your anti-malarial drugs when travelling in various countries in the tropics, use mosquito repellent and use your mosquito nets over your beds.
    Also note that over 42,000 people died in USA in 2021 in automobile crashes but we keep driving and riding in cars.
    Keep travelling but take reasonable precautions.


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