Fear of holes or clusters of holes in the skin

If you are new to this site you may be wondering what the heck is Trypophobia and why does the public at large have such a darn obsession with this phobia? Well, you are in luck my friend, trypophobia is set to be one of the most skin crawling, obsession causing, life changing phobias of its time. The reactions a phobia such as this can cause in a sufferer are an experience you must feel for yourself. Just one look at a picture can get these results and you won’t be disappointed. Most people are trypophobes whether they would like to believe it or not.

This section explores all factual information related to trypophobia. Like it or love it you are in for a treat. Please use the navigation bar  to explore trypophobia further.



Trypophobia is the irrational fear of clusters of holes, pods, circles, cracks, cuts and/or other asymmetrical shapes, especially those found in nature. Common examples of trypophobia inducing items include: lotus seed pods, lamprey eels, skin grafts and Surinam toads.

Considered to be a repetitive pattern phobia, it might sound strange, but there are people who believe that it’s as real as arachnophobia and other such phobias. Although the term does not exist in the lexicon yet, this unofficial phobia makes people feel repulsed, suffer hives and disgust and even make them feel like their skin will become the same. Scratching and even feeling repulsed by sponges or seed pods can cause a manic reaction.

For people who suffer from trypophobia has a strong aversion to clustered holes that are commonly seen in a Surinam toad’s back or when bot flies lay eggs. There are 150 other reasons (species of flies) for trypophobic people to be scared.

Another definition of trypophobia is a fear not just for naturally formed holes but also manufactured patterns.

Using search engines on internet browsers to gain more information about typophobia proved to be futile as the same things keep coming up the surface – the same information.

Since psychologists pretty much disregard this matter as just another “unofficial” phobia people come up with as a whim, there is a chance that it might one day become a full-fledged “official” phobia that will have more information on the internet and be finally included in the list of new words in the Merriam-Webster lexicon.


How to know if you suffer from Trypophobia

Once a person sees naturally formed irregularly-shaped cluster of holes or even synthetically patterned likenesses, he or she will immediately feel the following:

  • Disgust
  • Break into hives
  • Let out manic reactions such as screaming
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itching or scratching fits
  • Vomiting


Types of holes clusters that trigger Trypophobia
s of irregularly-shaped cluster of holes that causes aversion and distress to trypophobic people.

  • Honeycombs
  • Bubbles
  • Sponges
  • Swiss cheese
  • Seed pods
  • Warts
  • Spots
  • Cluster of boils on skin
  • Insect larvae holes
  • Skin infections
  • Teeth falling out after a root canal
  • Cracks on walls


Bot Flies and Surinam Toads

bot fly trypophobia
bot fly

Bot flies are the only insects that are known to lay their eggs or larvae in a host’s body, usually mammals. Humans are one of their favorite breeding grounds. First they invade the skin of the host using a small breathing hole to survive. Then, the bot fly larvae will grow inside the host for up to six weeks, multiplying as the infected area get saturated with larva. To kill the bot fly larvae, one needs to suffocate it by putting a air tight seal over the infected area to deny them breathing air. Another way to kill the bot fly larvae is to put a cotton swab soaked with camphor oil and seal it with an air tight bandage to draw the larvae out and eventually allow the hole to heal naturally.

Surinam toads are tongueless frogs that look like decaying star-shaped amphibians, even at the peak of their health, that thrive on moist, tropical and subtropical environments preferably in wetlands, marches and moist forests. Surinam toads are also known to carry their eggs at their backs and resembles warty-skinned honeycomb irregularly-shaped cluster of holes during their younglings’ incubation period of 80 days. Commonly found in Northern and Southern America, the visual images of a pregnant female Surinam toad are enough to make a trypophobic person cringe in revulsion.


surinam toad
surinam toad

Causes of Trypophobia

trypophobia cluster
trypophobia cluster

There are no formal studies conducted explaining why a person suffers from trypophobia and the subsequent violent desire to destroy the irregularly-shaped cluster of holes.

Naturally or even manufactured circular clusters could incite a panic attack, reducing a typophobic person in a nervous breakdown.

Certain images causes visual disturbance in a trypophobe. Pictures of bot flies larvae are discomfiting and some physical reactions manifest like getting dizzy and nauseous.


Testimonies of Trypophobes

There are many who would think that the idea of seeing images or pictures can make people react violently was preposterous. Therefore, people who suffer from this condition would rather keep it to themselves than be ridiculed and called silly. Constant teasing and labeling can definitely make a person lose confidence. So, when a Facebook page came up focusing on typophobia, it was a wonder that so many people opted to join the forum and even left comments are highly relatable.


The anonymity of posting comments gave way for typophobic people to come out and express their unusual fear. These comments prompted non-sufferers to ponder: Is typophobia a real fear, or is it just an excuse for squeamish people?

In an article written by entertainment reporter K. Williams Brown for the Statesman Journal chronicles her typophobic tendencies and her journey towards discovering that she’s not alone. She even went to great lengths in talking to a psychologist to better understand her fear. But, like many people would say, suffering after seeing pictures, illustrations and natural occurrences which involves clusters of holes sounded . . . insane.

Hundreds of Photoshopped pictures depicting these clusters of holes are all over the internet. There is also a video where maggots infested a woman’s breast and someone was plucking the larvae out one by one using tweezers and leaving an unsavory hole after. A lot of people who saw the video commented their disgust and were virtually shrieking from it. There are some who dreamt about it.

There are even some photos that are being marketed as visual art because the larvae in clusters of holes superimposed on human skin resembles that of pave diamonds and thus, making them look like body jewelry. Teenagers and women alike pose with these clusters of holes like it was the most natural thing in the world.

When typophobic people see these photos, they become repulsed and troubled. They do not reckon them as art at all but nice-looking people with wriggly worms, insects and larvae like bot flies making their habitat on the poor human’s skin and leaving them full of asymmetrically shaped, irregular holes.

Knowing that there are a lot of people out there that are afflicted with typophobia seem to make typophobes feel a little better, let alone be able to voice their concerns and help lessen the fear as they move along.  This knowledge makes is therapy for them, gradually easing their discomfort. But the true therapy would be to veer away from any images that will trigger the phobia.