What is Anatidaephobia?

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This blog post will answer questions: What is Anatidaephobia? Is Anatidaephobia a real psychological condition? What are the symptoms of Anatidaephobia? What are some useful coping techniques one can use to deal with Anatidaephobia? What are the various treatment options for Anatidaephobia?

What is Anatidaephobia?

Anatidaephobia is the fear of being watched by a duck due to which it is also commonly called the duck phobia. Individuals experiencing anatidaephobia fear that somewhere out there a duck may be observing them.

The fear is not about being approached or attacked by the duck rather being stopped and watched as they carry out their daily routine.

It is seen that an irrational and persistent fear of being watched by ducks or ducks in itself may be due to a past traumatic experience such as being attacked or bitten by a duck in earlier stages of life.

Is Anatidaephobia a real psychological condition?

Anatidaephobia does not have any official mention in the DSM or ICD, nor does it have a diagnostic criterion. The term anatidaephobia has its roots in a joke that was printed in a popular comic that was created by an American cartoonist Gary Larson.

Anatidae is taken from Greek which means ducks, geese, and various other poultry birds.

What are the causes of Anatidaephobia?

It is well known that in most cases of phobias the source of the fear is a prior negative or traumatic experience that involves the feared object or entity.

Similarly, with anatidaephobia, it is believed that the fear arises from a past traumatic experience where an individual is either attacked or tracked down by a duck or a geese which were traumatic for that individual.

Ducks and geese are considered to be violent creatures by nature and have been known to attack people without even being provoked.

This is why it is usually recommended for people to admire them from a distance. If such an incident happens with very young and helpless children it might be a terrifying experience for them which they hold lifelong as a fear.

 As a result of which whenever they encounter ducks or keys they experience a sense of anxiety. Apart from being attacked or tracked down by a duck, even the loud noise that such birds make can be too much for a child.


What are the symptoms of Anatidaephobia?

when an individual encounters something that triggers fear they experience a set of feelings and uncontrollable anxiety.

Individuals experiencing anatidaephobia might complain of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Increased breathing
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Stomach upset

What are some useful coping techniques one can use to deal with Anatidaephobia?

A number of coping strategies that one can adopt if they fear ducks or geese to manage their anxiety are:

Practicing breathing

An individual should be aware of how to calm themselves down when they experience discomfort due to the emotions that tag along with an anxiety attack. Slow and deep breathing allows an individual’s body to bounce back to a calmer state of mind.

Mental imagery

Another way in which an individual can calm themselves down while experiencing anxiety is by imagining or forming mental images of things that make them feel nice about themselves and their surroundings such as imagining a relaxing walk by the beachside.

Use of distraction

The best way to divert one’s mind from the fear or threat of any object is to anchor themselves away from the triggering situation this can involve listening to soothing music, indulging in activities that are enjoyable, or going for a pleasant walk.

Challenge your thoughts

when an individual finds themselves fearful another way to calm themselves down is to challenge their own negative and triggering thoughts. This can be done by evaluating one’s own beliefs in terms of their reality factor. An individual can try and actively replace their negative and discomforting thoughts with a helpful ones.

What are the various treatment options for Anatidaephobia?

While anatidaephobia is not officially recorded as a phobia the fear of birds, ducks or geese can be a matter of serious concern. Apart from the various coping strategies which are self-help in nature other treatment options that an individual can consider are:

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is based on the principle that in order to reduce an individual’s fear about a particular object they have to be exposed to it. Exposure therapy follows a systematic and gradient system where an individual is exposed to stimuli or objects that are less anxiety-provoking to the most anxiety-provoking.

In that, the therapist usually starts by just showing the picture of an object that they fear, and once the individual is able to cope with this exposure the therapist usually moves on to a more challenging object.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on helping the individual to change their maladaptive thoughts and replacing them with more adaptable and favorable ones. The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to remove the anxiety response from the fear trigger.


Medications can also be prescribed in order to reduce the symptoms associated with any particular phobia. Studies indicate that medications in combination with other therapy options such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy can bring out the best results in an individual.


It is believed that the most important cause of a phobia is situated in the environment or is a result of learned behavior. According to this approach by unlearning the response of fear the phobia can’t be cured or brought down to a level that is self-manageable. In order to unlearn a particular response, an individual must spend a considerable amount of time in therapy with trained professional


Anatidaephobia even though not a recognized phobia many people complain of the fear of ducks or geese which causes significant distress in an individual’s life.

Be it any phobia the individuals should not try to escape or ignore their symptoms rather try and seek help for the same. This can best be done by talking to a professional or taking advice from an individual who was been experiencing the same.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is Anatidaephobia a real phobia?  

Anatidaephobia is not officially recognized however the fear of ducks and geese is possible. The fear of birds, or ornithophobia, is a very real specific phobia.

Does everyone have a phobia?

Almost everyone has some of the other types of irrational fears. However, when these fears become severe and cause significant distress and anxiety which interferes with an individual’s normal functioning is called phobias.

What are the top five fears of humans?

Some of the most commonly experienced fears by humans are:

  • Acrophobia- Fear of heights.
  • Pteromerhanophobia- Fear of flying.
  • Claustrophobia- Fear of enclosed spaces.
  • Entomophobia- Fear of insects.
  • Ophidiophobia- Fear of snakes.

What is the rarest phobia?

Some of the rarest and uncommon phobias are:

  • Ablutophobia – Fear of bathing.
  • Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.
  • Arithmophobia – Fear of math.
  • Chirophobia – Fear of hands.
  • Chloephobia – Fear of newspapers.
  • Globophobia – Fear of balloons

What is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary and ironically refers to the fear of long words.



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