Which of These Snakes Is the Fiercest of Them All?
Our fear of the legless predators is a leftover evolutionary defense mechanism.
Ask people to name their phobias, and snakes often top the list.
Even those who have never seen a snake in person are more likely to be afraid of the slithering reptiles than they are of public speaking or extreme heights.
Scientists believe that our fear of snakes is a product of evolution—a leftover defense mechanism from when a wrong step could be fatal to our early ancestors. Back then, a “snake in the grass” was more than an expression, it was a threat to survival.
Today, though, snakes may have more to fear from humans. About 90 percent of the 3,000 known snake species worldwide are harmless, and snake bites are rare unless the critters are provoked.
What about you? Do