I am not squeamish about most animals or insects. I have no inordinate fears of dogs or cats. Bats are not too scary, though I would rather not have one stuck in my hair. Spiders have my respect and are not regarded as cuddly. But snakes are different. Here is where I come closest to an animal phobia.
Snakes strike me as inherently ugly: all whip-body with beady, soulless eyes. They move by slithering, which seems an innately sinister motion. It is also a given that they are under foot, easily hidden in the grass ahead of our tread. For the most part they are quiet, which adds to their menace; when they do make noise it is a hateful hissing.