The phobia stories remind me of a birthday 'surprise' my dad talked a neighbor of ours into giving to my mom. The neighbor was a tween who didn't know mom that much at this point (I think we had just recently moved to our house). Anyway, she caught one of those cute blue tailed lizards the kind where the tail comes off) & put it into an empty coolwhip container. She gave it to mom along w/the other b-day presents. When mom opened the container, the lizard was flung up in the air going one way, mom ran out the door as fast as I've ever seen her move screaming all the way. She wouldn't come back inside the house until we proved the lizard was not inside any longer.
Bless her heart, she can't even look at snakes or lizards on TV without shuddering.
The funny thing is that I don't mind lizards, frogs, snakes (as long as I'm certain they aren't poisonous). Spiders are ok too as long as they are outside & the non-venomous kind. Rats are another thing though. Ugh.