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    Zemmiphobia – Fear of the Great Mole Rat

    Mole Rat: Strange Looking for Most, but Scary for Others

    Does your heart pound when you see a great mole rat, whether it be physically present or on a TV or cell phone screen?


    Are you confused because you know others who have no fear of this animal, while you’re simply terrified of it? Do you go to great lengths to avoid potential mole rate encounters?


    Overcoming your persistent fear of the great mole rat involves understanding why you’re experiencing fear and implementing strategies to move beyond your fearful experiences.



    What Is Zemmiphobia?


    Zemmiphobia is a phobia or irrational fear of the rodent known as the great mole rat. Zemmi comes from the Russian word zemny, which roughly translates to “earth puppy.”


    The zemmi is a giant mole rat in Eastern Europe. But any mole rat or hairless rodent can cause zemmiphobia.


    A phobia is an irrational and intense fear of something. Fears of small animals, such as mice and similar creatures, often make it to the list of common phobias.


    Like with other phobias, it’s possible to overcome zemmiphobia through intervention and consistent practices.


    Zemmiphobia Symptoms


    Phobias are challenging because they affect both mind and body.


    Psychological Symptoms

    • Overthinking about mole rats
    • Expecting the worst-case scenarios
    • Being unable to focus, think clearly, or plan
    • Procrastinating
    • Being forgetful
    • Carelessness
    • Feeling irritable or agitated
    • Feeling bad about yourself


    Physical Symptoms

    • Wanting to shout and run away
    • Stopping what you’re doing and freezing in place
    • Clinging to other people or furniture
    • Thumping heart
    • Breathlessness
    • Choking sensation
    • Shaking
    • Feeling dizzy
    • Sweating
    • Feeling aches and pains
    • Tense muscles
    • Unable to sleep or sleeping too much
    • Increased or decreased appetite
    • Being sick for no reason


    Zemmiphobia Self-Help Techniques


    Other people have likely told you that you shouldn’t be so scared of a “harmless” creature. However, knowing your fear is unfounded does nothing to lessen the panicky feelings, right? Denying your fears doesn’t help. But these things might:


    Understanding Your Fear: Zemmiphobia Causes


    Zemmiphobia can result from a past negative experience with mole rats. Maybe as a child you saw a mole rat that looked like a monster to you. Or maybe something terrible happened where the rodent was present, so your mind associated the unpleasant event with the rodent.


    The fear of mole rats might also be inherited. Interestingly, our ancestors’ fears may have been imprinted in their genetic code, which may then be passed on to their descendants. If you have parents or relatives who are afraid of mole rats, it’s natural for you to be afraid of them, too, even if you haven’t had negative encounters with them.



    The Ladder Technique: Face Your Fear


    Face your fear gradually. Create a ladder of actions of increasing difficulty. For example:


    Step 1: Look at a picture of a mole rat.

    Step 2: Watch a short video of a mole rat.

    Step 3: Watch a documentary about mole rats.

    Step 4: Go to a zoo or a pet shop selling mole rats and watch them from a distance.

    Step 5: Go to a place with mole rats and observe them within six feet.

    Step 6: Be within three feet of a mole rat

    Step 7: Be right in front of a mole rat

    Step 8: Pet a mole rat

    Step 9: Carry a mole rat

    Step 10: (optional) Own a mole rat as a pet.


    You can make your own ladder, but ensure that the first step doesn’t scare you too much. If someone can help you go through all the steps or a particular step (for instance, a vet, zookeeper, or mole rat expert), ask for their support.


    Plan to get a reward each time you accomplish a step. Doing this will make you look forward to going up the ladder.


    Remain in the challenging situation until you feel better.


    Practice facing your fear of mole rats regularly; expose yourself to it every day.


    When you are feeling less afraid, go to the next step.


    Overcome Your Negative Thoughts


    When we don’t know something well, it’s easy to imagine many terrifying things about it. That’s why it will help to learn more about mole rats if you’re afraid of them.


    Read about mole rats and learn about their characteristics. Check whether they are as dangerous in real life as they are in your head. Connect with mole rat experts and ask whether these animals can harm you. They may advise you on how to be less afraid of them.


    Tell yourself repeatedly: “Whenever I see, hear, feel, or think about a mole rat, I would (insert a more helpful reaction here).” For example, you can recall the interesting facts you have read about them. You can remember when other people handled them and they turned out fine. Or, you can decide to feel calmer this time around.


    Overcome Your Sensations of Fear


    When you realize you’re becoming afraid, pay close attention to your feelings. Is your heart racing? Slow down your breaths. This will calm your heart rate. Are you so tense that your fists are clenched and your arm muscles ache? Loosen your muscles, and shake your arms and legs if you can.




    Seeking Professional Help For Zemmiphobia


    It may be difficult for people to battle their fears on their own. Fortunately, professional help is available for those suffering from phobias. Treatment of zemmiphobia may include therapeutic sessions and medication.


    Phobia Exposure


    If you don’t want to face your phobia alone, seek help from phobia specialists. An exposure therapy session may last an hour and a half to three hours, and sessions may continue for several weeks.




    A counselor or psychotherapist can help people with zemmiphobia process complex memories, beliefs, and feelings through talk therapies. There are many kinds of therapies; one often recommended for phobias is cognitive behavioral therapy. The therapist helps the client learn useful techniques to control or modify their thoughts, so they will have better experiences.




    In cases of severe symptoms, a doctor may prescribe medication to help you cope with daily life. This medication must be taken consistently and at the appropriate times. When you can manage better, the doctor will reduce your dosage over time with the eventual goal of eliminating the need completely.


    How to Avoid Zemmiphobia


    Zemmiphobia treatment includes facing the source of your troubles. If you don’t have this phobia, you could avoid developing this fear by seeing moles as harmless and interacting with them regularly. You could also consider helping people overcome their fear. Doing so will strengthen your confidence with mole rats.




    Your experiences are valid. Mole rats ARE scary if they cause you to feel symptoms of fear. However, you can take specific steps that will enable you to overcome that fear, and once you succeed, you’ll feel more courage in other things, too. With some effort and professional help, you may be able to move zemmiphobia to the bottom of your list of concerns.


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