Across the world there are varied opinions about frogs and toads: some people find them cute, others find them ugly and disgusting. Then there are others who have developed an outright fear or phobia of frogs.
The term used to describe this phobia/fear of frogs is called Ranidaphobia. This word originates from Latin source ‘Rani/ranidae’ meaning the family of amphibians including frogs, toads, newts etc and phobos which is Greek for fear. Another term for this phobia is Batrachophobia. (The fear of toads is specifically called Bufonophobia.)
Causes of Ranidaphobia
- There are many associations and stories related to frogs in folklore and fairy tales. Frogs have been deemed ugly, but princesses still need to kiss them for ‘regaining’ their handsome princes.
- Frog urine (or skin contact with the creature) supposedly causes warts on the skin (similar to those on a witch’s face). In some cultures, it is believed that sighting a frog is bad omen.
- Then, modern TV shows on science have shown that many species of frogs are poisonous/allergy inducing. Hence, children develop a phobia of frogs after reading about them or watching such shows.
- A negative experience with frogs in childhood is the most common trigger of Ranidaphobia. One phobic describes an incident from his childhood in a makeshift shower stall at the beach where he accidentally picked up a bullfrog while bathing in the dark. His fear at the sight and croaking sound made by the frog made him run out screaming in the buff. This negative humiliating experience comes back to haunt him each time he encounters frogs.
- Another phobic, a woman, accidentally killed a frog by running her lawnmower over it. The violent manner in which the frog was killed caused her to have a lifetime of anxiety about these creatures.
- Some students asked to dissect frogs in Biology experience twitching legs of dead frogs and have developed deep dread of these creatures ever since.
- Frogs are usually associated with wet, damp or rainy places. They come out croaking at nighttime to feed and mate and to a person already suffering from nervous anxiety disorders or adrenal insufficiencies, it is possible that the mind associates evil, death or dying with these supposedly ‘ominous’ sounds made by the frog.
- Frogs are also found in toilets or dirty cramped spaces. People who are afraid of dirt or un-cleanliness are likely to develop this fear of frogs.
- These creatures are good at camouflage and blending with their natural environment. They tend to make a sudden appearance scaring people who then associate them with the panic felt at their presence.
Symptoms of fear of frogs phobia
The symptoms of fear of frogs vary from person to person.
- In some individuals, even the sight, sound or thought of presence of frogs can trigger a host of anxiety symptoms like screaming, shaking, crying, increased heartbeat, sweating, trembling and so on.
- Some people cannot bear to even look at pictures of frog or TV/nature shows about them.
- Many refuse to walk in tall grass in spring/summer months and especially at night, or swim in ponds or pools where frogs generally lurk.
- In extreme cases, the phobic tends to think that a frog will jump on his head or crawl under the skin and this can make one hysterical or paralyzed with fear.
Knowing the root cause of Ranidaphobia is the first step for its treatment. Cognitive behavior therapy and Psychotherapy are both highly effective in achieving this goal. Both can help the phobic rationalize his fear of frogs.
Ranidaphobic individuals should try to gradually expose themselves to the object of fear, in this case, frogs. Listening to sounds of frogs, seeing frog photos on the Internet, or talking and discussing it with loved ones (or with others in online/offline support groups) can also help one overcome Ranidaphobia.
Anxiety or allergy medication may be prescribed by the healthcare provider but these are used as a last resort as they are not often free from side effects.
Finally, one should educate oneself about frogs as learning and understanding can also help overcome fear. Frogs are essential part of the ecosystem and play a role in many food chains. Efforts are also being made worldwide to save frogs to save rainforests. Knowing these facts can help one rationalize their fear of frogs.
Reading all these comments, I’m really not the only one terrified of toads and frogs. I am so scared. I have a big fear of them. If I see one, I cry, and I can’t move. I just keep shaking. Sometimes I work nights, and I get anxious about coming home in case of a cane toad. The other night when I got home, I saw a toad by my front door. I stood there, crying my eyes out and shaking. I sat in my shed for an hour, and my next-door neighbor ended up helping me get inside. I want this fear to stop and to go away. I hate working nights or leaving my house, and I hate being so paranoid. I feel like no one can help me with this fear. I want to do hypnotherapy, but I feel like nothing can help this fear go away like it’s stuck with me forever.
I am scared to death of the damn things. People who aren’t scared of them just don’t understand the severity of it. And when someone finds out I’m scared, they then think it’s funny to try to scare me. And it’s FAR from funny. I can spot one a mile away. My husband says every time, how the hell did you see that thing. Shoot, is he crazy? Because no matter where I’m at, or what I’m doing, I’m ALWAYS looking for them. I stay away from street lights, ponds, outdoors, swimming pools, any place they might be. It can’t be good for someone to be so scared, but I’m petrified of them.
Dishari Satpathy says
I too feel the same. I’m 20 now and just now I visited this site and came to know that it’s a phobia! Every day and every night I get scared whenever I imagine that there can be a frog in the dark corners. I want to get rid of this! It disturbs me a lot. I faced a lot of awkward moments in these 20 years and I always found myself so panicked. I’m a brave person but in the case of frogs, I feel like I’m going to faint.
iojamnes Quintana says
I hear you loud and clear. I am the same way! I can smell and sense them a mile away. I wish there was something I could do about it. It’s definitively destroyed my life in so many ways. I can’t do any outdoor fun activities with my family such as camping, lazy rivers, cave exploring, kayaking, etc. because I am petrified of them.
Thalia Caballero says
I feel you! I live in an apartment on the second floor, and they still find their way to my balcony. I don’t know how to get rid of them. I’ve tried pesticides, salt, water, and vinegar. I have to tell my husband to go outside and look for them to make sure they’re not around and that I can go outside. Still, I’m jumpy the whole time. I also hate when people make fun of you for it or try to scare you with it. That’s cruel!
I agree with you 100%.
My fear of frogs and toads start back to when I was a small child. We had lots of them in our yard and my cousin would pick them up and put them in my lunchbox. I can remember her saying “I have a surprise for you, open up the lunchbox.” Of course I did it not knowing what was in there. To my horror there would be several big toads. I am getting sick writing this. Skin is crawling. Ever since then I have been terrified of them and terrified to open up anything someone gives me, especially if they say “I have a surprise.”
Every summer I am constantly on guard for them. Although I love gardening and working outside, the thought of them is in the back of my mind. I have gotten skilled at spotting them out.
A couple of weeks ago I mustered up the courage to go under the house even though my husband said he saw one hop under there.
As soon as I opened the door and went to turn on the light the creep jumped out and was about a foot away from my own foot! I took off running, fell and cut my legs. My eleven year old daughter who is not afraid of any animals came to my rescue. She took the toad way down into the woods.
We recently had 4 days of nonstop rain. My husband said he saw a frog in the yard. It took me some courage to come outside. I will not go into the yard, instead I am sitting on the deck.
No one understands the fear and everyone thinks it is silly or dumb but it is real.
I relate to your story. I cannot stand the sight of frogs or toads, even just thinking of them makes me uncomfortable.
I saw a very big one on Friday in the toilet and I haven’t been myself after that.
poodle toes says
Last night I had to do laundry downstairs, and I went over to the washer and dryer and I didn’t realize there was a frog down there. I turned around and there was a frog across the room from me. I couldn’t move and it suddenly jerked its head to look at me and I started hyperventilating. Then it jumped behind the wall and I couldn’t see it, so I didn’t know where it went. I leapt up on the dryer and I sat there and started freaking, shaking and crying. I was having an anxiety attack and I was scared to even talk. I spent at least 20 minutes downstairs before I finally got the courage to run to the stairs and I started calling to my mom and she went downstairs and put my clothes in the dryer for me. The end. Thank you for coming to my ted talk.
My boyfriend is so scared of them. I have salted our yard and sprayed it and they still come back. We live on the hill and do not have any standing water. Does anyone have other suggestions on how to get rid of them? I hate that he cannot even enjoy his new home.
I have an extreme fear of frogs. Whenever I see or watch something of a frog on the internet, I cannot touch my screen or even look at it for a split second. I’m even shaking when writing this because I just have a thought of frogs. Ugh, even the word. The thought of touching, hearing or seeing one just drives me INSANE! I get embarrassed because I think it’s a dumb fear, but I just can’t overcome it.
I’m scared of all frogs unless they’re obviously fake, so do I have this phobia?
Cynthia Votta says
I’m terrified of frogs. I don’t like them making noise or jumping. As long as it’s not close to me I’m fine but if it even looks like it’s going to jump I have an anxiety attack. They are all over the inside of my home, and in my shower. I have a anxiety attack every single day because I’m afraid they will jump on me when I get in. I just want them gone from my shower.
Lord have mercy where in the hell do you live? I would let those frogs have my house, i cant even think about one without having a panic attack. You’re so brave!
OMG, I wish I had never read that first comment. That is the stuff of my nightmares.
I’m trying to find an online support group; my phobia seems to be getting worse with age.
Frogs are outside my door, so often I kick the door to see if there are any and then run out like the flash.
OMG I would have died. I recently moved to this house and if the situation gets to that point I’m not staying here to comply with the contract. Only two weeks here in this house and I have developed this phobia I never had before, and I can’t see myself living like that for too long. Move from that house, your mental health is more important.
I’m literally in my car scared to go in the house because when I pulled up at midnight there was a frog waiting for me at the door step! It is now 1:42 am and I’m still I’m my car. I have screamed, cried, and had an anxiety attack because of the frog. My daughter came out to the car to get me and I still couldn’t get out and go in the house. I’m so afraid. I plan on sleeping in my car tonight because I can’t work up the nerve to go inside. I’m tired of living my life like this, no one understands and they think I’m being dramatic. I’m literally crying writing this, I don’t know why I’m so afraid.
Dude I am like that to my dad sometimes, even scared of fake frogs and I get mad and sad. He gets angry because he doesn’t believe me.
alexus carpenter says
I understand you. Please put tons of salt outside of your home as well as moth balls (i know they don’t smell good, but it helps) and make sure you put extra salt in front of your door! I work nights and when i get off i have to have my husband come outside and make sure the coast is clear so i won’t have to sleep in the car. I want to find help so bad to help with this fear. Keep your head up. Fall/Winter is almost near so the demons will soon be gone lol.
I moved to Florida recently and I’m going crazy. I didn’t know I was so afraid of frogs to this point, but in this town there are too many frogs. I cant even open my front door, and yesterday for the first time I saw one in my daughter’s room and then it went to my room. I didn’t sleep all night. I cried, I panicked, and waited till the morning that someone wakes up to remove it from my room, and tonight it’s almost 2am and I can’t sleep either. I keep looking below the door, around the floor, staring at the walls. I’m too scared. I am crying right now just thinking about it. I don’t go out until late night, because I am too scared of getting out of the car and be jumped by one of them. This is so sad that my Florida dreams is becoming a nightmare.
Where in Florida do you live? Because i just moved here too and I’m so scared. And the worst part is that I just started to work for the post office and they are telling me that i can find them inside the mailboxes! OMG! I told my husband i want to move out of here. I don’t want to live here anymore. I’ve been here for 8 months and this is enough for me now. About one month ago I started to see those evil cuban tree frogs. They are horrible and huge and they jump all over.
Alexus C says
I am TERRIFIED of frogs it’s to the point where I hate saying the word frog. I live my everyday life paranoid looking around scared that one will jump out at any time, it’s like i can just feel when they’re near. I’ve learned the type of environment that they like so I can avoid them as much as possible. I have to keep salt and moth balls all around my house when it’s warm out to try to avoid coming home from work having one waiting for me at the door. I honestly have no idea why i am so afraid, but i hate it. I want to cure this phobia soooo bad, but i know it’s impossible, i’ve been this way my entire life. Someone can literally rob me with a frog instead of a gun. Sounds insane i know, but i can’t help it. I’m glad to know i’m not the only one.
You’re not alone Alexus, same here ;)
I completely understand you. Really I’ve been afraid of frogs all my life. I don’t hate them because I know they’re good for the planet but I had a terrible experience when I was little. Somehow someone threw a frog on my door and I guess I was so little, maybe two or three years old, and when I opened the door I thought this bullfrog was going to eat me. Ever since that I panic. I can’t see myself grabbing one ever in my life. The worst part for me is that I am an outdoor person. I love my outdoors, but in summer I’m constantly finding myself looking for the frogs everywhere and for some reason I always find them. No one else around me see them but me. I love camping but it’s terrible with this phobia. I have tried many things and I can think about them now. Before I couldn’t even do that but hey, good luck.
I’m right there with you! 100%. It’s so hard for me to get in my house, hearts beating fast and sweating. Just because of fear of frogs, I look around my house every night when I get off work praying that I don’t see any frogs!
Mandy Rattner says
I recognize myself in all these stories. I could literally jump in front of an incoming car to avoid one. Their leaping in any direction pushes me over the edge. I do believe they seek me out. Yes, I had a traumatic experience as a child and now I’m 72 years old. The phobia gets worse in time. Have anyone been successful at treating it? Please seek treatment so that you can enjoy life!
I’m sorry but I’m so scared of the F word myself, I don’t even want to type it. I even hate reading it because I feel exactly like every one of you! I can’t even look at pictures! I’m literally in tears reading all the comments. I don’t mean to laugh but your comment is the only one that has made me laugh about this stupid phobia. Please forgive me! I’m not laughing at you. It’s just that it’s so true! WTH happened to me that I’m like this. I used to – and I can’t believe I’m even saying this – PLAY with them as a kid! So gross! Yesterday I was cleaning the porch and I don’t know why but I had a feeling there was gonna be one there, and when I reached down to get something, I saw it. I screamed and started shaking! I came inside and started tearing up. I still tear up when I think about it and when I shut my eyes I see it! That’s why I’m here. I feel like it’s going to get me.. I need help.
Edwina Hickling says
Im a country girl who loves everything country EXCEPT frogs. I will pick up live snakes, spiders, rats, mice, insects etc but when it comes to frogs, Im absolutely paralyzed. Im ok if I hear them but not if I see them. If I can see it, I have to get one of my workers or family to get it and kill it. I can’t even deal with dead frogs. In Australia, I get snakes around my house chasing water. If the snake is a King Brown I’ll shoot it BUT leave the blacks and red belly black snake alone because they EAT the frogs. I cant even look at any type of media on frogs.
I dont understand why? As Im not afraid of anything else in the world. To me, a good frog is an extinct frog. Hate them.
I’ve never liked frogs I just don’t find them cute. At my old school, there were tons of rumours of frogs being in the toilets and I was horrified to ever go to the toilet. Like a week ago I went outside to feed my dog and there was a frog near the bowl, I started hyperventilating and asked my dad to move the frog, he did. Then last night there was a frog there again and I started freaking out again, I asked my dad but he said the frog wasn’t even that close (it was about a meter and a half away) but I was still terrified, I started breathing harshly and at quick intervals, I cried until my dad finally got out and moved the frog away. Im honestly so terrified of frogs, I hate it. :(
I was born with the fear of frogs and turns out it’s three generations deep, my mom grandmother and me all share it! We all cry and scream, after seeing a frog I’ll lose my appetite for days i don’t even want to go outside thinking that one will jump on me any moment … I wish I could learn to not be so scared
When I was little between 3 and 4 my mom caught a frog in the backyard and put it inside. I don’t know why. I came in the living room and I was looking at it for a while and then finally had the urge to touch it and I slowly walked up. When I finally got to it it jumped and I FREAKED. My Mimi is scared of frogs too and she was there and she starting getting scared and then I became a ranidaphobe, the end.
I guess i was born with Ranidaphobia, i faced this issue for many times and for many years.
10 years ago when i was playing with my brother in our garden i found something next to me, i didn’t see it well, i thought it was a stone and decided to catch it and throw it on my brother. When i looked at it i found a frog in my hand and entered into a hysterical crying and screaming..
Until now i’m having this phobia. Today i saw a frog and i started my usual screaming and crying like always so my aunt took the frog far away from our house and after half an hour the frog came again. She took it out again so far and she came again and over again this repeated from the afternoon until the night. I think that i’m having a serious issue, i’m losing my mind, i started thinking that i can’t heal from this phobia.
I started having this phobia 8 years ago. I entered our bathroom and noticed a silhouette of a frog in between the vase and a figurine on the toilet (the part where you flush if you know what i mean). At first I didn’t notice it was an actual frog since I hadn’t opened the lights yet. I shouted at my grandma who was at the living room “Grandma, I didn’t know you bought a frog figurine” and then she shouted back like she didn’t knew what i was talking about. That’s when I heard a sudden croak. So I immediately opened the lights and that’s when the frog jumped on my right leg. It even tried getting in my shorts but it figured out he can’t fit in so he jumped to my left leg and stayed there a bit longer. I was shouting frantically so I jumped and jumped and shrugged off the frog until it leaped away from me.
The other night my dog was playing with a frog outside and it was jumping around everywhere and I don’t like little quick moving things. Tonight when I was in the backyard I think I imagined a frog jumping towards me.
I honestly dont know why im so scared of frogs. Just that high pitched noise they make and the way they move, everything about them. I dont mind tadpoles or baby frogs but adult frogs, NO WAY!
Even pictures of them cause me anxiety and i start to panic and sweat sometimes. I have touched a frog maybe twice but i had to build up the confidence.
I’ve always been afraid of frogs since I was young and my older sister is terribly afraid of them too. I’ve never touched one. I even remember reading a story about a red eye tree frog when I was in 3rd grade and loved it. As I grew older I started getting even more scared to the point that I can’t even look at pictures and scream when I do. I screamed when I saw the frog on this website too and dropped my phone. I’ve recently accepted the idea of me having this phobia and I want to cure it.
I am so afraid of frogs, last night at the wake I saw plenty of them and they were coming towards me. I panicked and when I got home I started crying and eventually couldn’t breathe, I started having a panic attack.
I am ridiculously scared of frogs, pictures, noises, wet grass etc, and I’m a therapist. :/ If you gave me a choice of touching a frog or shooting me with a gun, I would choose the gun option without a thought. Yes! I am aware of the insanity and cognitive dissonance inherent in this statement. Major phobia, deep stuff. One therapist highlighted a possible suppressed abuse incident pre age 3 or dissociated, which resonated but triggered no distinct isolatable memory. I am clearly familiar with the processes involved in exposure therapy or desensitisation approaches, yet they do not seem to be the answer for me. Mysterious.
Hi Kitty, we share the same phobia. I feel like I will go crazy or pass out if there is a frog in sight. I also want to get rid of it because I cannot live normally, I cannot freely walk in places that I know there is a frog. How are you doing about it as a therapist?