Most women are more scared of public speaking than they are of death, it has been revealed.

Researchers who polled 2,000 women found many are far more at ease with meeting their maker than they are of standing in a room talking to an audience hanging on their every word.

The study found women loathe the thought of making a spectacle of themselves, and feel more nervous about stuttering, tripping up and looking foolish than going to an early grave.

The top fears cited in the survey were losing family members, followed by being buried alive, with speaking in public being rated the third worst fear.


It also emerged the thought of public humiliation worries women far more than a visit to the dentist, teeth falling out or even ageing.

The findings emerged in a study which examined the weird and wonderful things that make us fearful, anxious or frightened.

It turns out the majority of women are more nervous about being the last survivor on earth than getting ill or losing their jobs.

Moths, daddy long legs and bridges are more likely to put the fear of God into women than the children growing up and leaving home.

However the survey did uncover a whole list of weird and wonderful phobias including wooden ice lolly sticks, chickens, feet and men with beards.

Some women confessed to having an irrational fear of peanut butter sticking in their mouths, while others can't bear the feel of polystyrene, woolly jumpers or cotton wool.

Other weird and wonderful things guarantee to make some women shudder include bubble baths, people on stilts and balloons popping.

The study shows a large number of women are, as gender stereotypes would predict, freaked out by things like the sight of blood, horror films and scary television.


Half of those polled admit they would get a partner to catch a mouse for them while 43 per cent would ask him to remove a spider from the bath.

A fifth of men are also expected to put the bins out if it is dark, or get something from the car at night time.

A spokesman for Ripley's Believe It or Not! London, who commissioned the study, said: "Women were questioned about the things which make them most worried and frightened and discussed up to 88 different types of phobias.

"Incredibly, although more common terrors such as spiders, heights and the dark did feature on the final list, there were also very real fears most associated with events out of our control - such as losing loved ones, public humiliation or losing important things.

"The study also unveiled some of the stranger things women are frightened of including belly buttons, small boats, fish touching them, and pigeons.

"I'd have thought people would be afraid of our real Amazonian shrunken heads or the torture instruments showcased in the Dungeon Zone but we get more people scared of the lifts."

Women's top 20 fears

1. Losing family members

2. Being buried alive

3. Speaking in public

4. Dying

5. Fire

6. Snakes

7. Heights

8. Spiders

9. Crashing the car

10. Public humiliation

11. Losing photographs

12. Teeth falling out

13. Someone seeing you naked

14. Aging

15. Being poor

16. Last survivor on earth

17. Dentist

18. Going bald

19. Failing an exam

20. Mice