This is kind of a specific topic. I do know, though, that lots of people are scared of certain insects, spiders, snakes, etc.
For me, I used to be afraid of caterpillars. To the point that if one touched me I’d freak out. (Although I was fine with monarchs as long as they didn’t touch me) It would just be the larvae. Butterflies and moths, I was fine with.
When I started with eBird, and then later got iNat, I was obsessed with building my lifelist. (I still am!) I noticed a difference one day when I found a caterpillar curled up on the ground while I was making obs on surrounding plants. Like most of the smaller creatures, I like to have a good background so that my camera can focus on them. So, I picked the caterpillar up to photograph it. (This was not one of the furry ones) Afterwards, I realized that this was the first time I intentionally touched a caterpillar in a very long time. I think the excitement of adding a new organism to my lifelist is greater than my previous fear of them. Also, the fact that caterpillars are babies seems to just make them cute, lol.
Has iNaturalist helped you to get over your fears of organisms you were previously scared of?
Thank you! As I was writing this, I wasn’t finding similar topics for whatever reason.
Not iNat per se (as I described in the linked spider thread)… I cured myself from an arachnophobia before I even knew iNat excisted. But the concept was the same, with me taking pictures, trying to get to know what I photographed and trying to learn more and finally getting sucked in into the spider realm and learning to adore them.
… I am still not very touchy with spiders, though.
Spiders prefer not to be handled anyways, I think X-D
Not get over I wouldn’t say, but from an extreme spider phobia to a much milder one. It used to be if I saw a large spider outside I’d quickly walk away and be distressed for the next hour or longer - even if there was nice things nearby I could have added to inat. The one time I went to Florida I actually couldn’t enter a nature preserve at all because there was a golden silk spider at the entrance
By now I don’t really mind spiders outdoors much at all. And indoors I’m less terrified of them and instead just grossed out by the mess it makes killing them and getting rid of the body. Not at the point yet though where I could just stay calm with a live spider on the wall, nor with trying to move one while it’s alive.
I’m not exactly sure how phobias work, all the traumatic spider experiences in the past made it just worse and worse. But (observing plants on) inat weakened it gradually, somehow.
When I first started I was completely afraid of bees and wasps. Now I’m always annoyed cause they won’t stay still for a picture. There are still a few “spray on sight” species but it’s not irrational, it’s cause I know they’re aggressive and I don’t want them living near the house. I never was deathly afraid of spiders but I would certainly not be holding as many as I do know. After iNat, I think jumping spiders are one of the cutest creatures ever created. I still hate wolf spiders though.
There are still a few animals that make me uncomfortable, especially when I’m surprised by a centipede or cockroach running across the floor. iNaturalist has definitely helped my relationship with spiders - I try to handle all the ones I see in my home/garden, unless they are widows or recluses - and wasps.
Running I can deal with, but I once had a FLYing cockroach. I prefer to keep my distance from locusts - they both jump and fly.
Jumping spiders are absolutely adorable!
The only animal I fear is humans, and more so lately after some of the posts I’ve read on iNat forums.
I hear you. If it helps, there are lots of wonderful humans out there too.
I’m not particularly scared of any organisms, maybe if I’m in immediate danger, but I otherwise don’t mind looking at something dangerous (or something we might erroneously perceive as dangerous) from afar. That said, I’ve found my attitude changing a bit since I got into iNat. A dead fly on my furniture? Ew, let me clean up, but now I need to take a picture first! :P I don’t always post the low-quality pictures to iNat, but thinking I could was a starting point to enjoying documenting anything I see.
INat has helped with several things… however it was my child who pointed out that whenever I did the look-point-there’s-a-spider-in-the-house all she had to do was hand me my camera…”oooh, cool…it’s eyes are reflecting green” !
I still am quite jumpy with jumpers… spiders and other hoppers…leaf hoppers, grasshoppers, katydids, mantis…
Fungi, for me. Used to be afraid to touch them, now touching is a key part of my observation!
Anthropophobia. Almost every animal out there also has this.
For very good reasons.
I have never heard of a person being afraid to touch fungi! It makes sense though, considering that a lot of them can hurt you if ingested.
The dodo didn’t have it, look what happened there :P
You know, I was just thinking about this today. I’m much braver around bees now, mostly because I’m trying to photograph them now LOL
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