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What is a werewolf afraid of?

Werewolves have captured the imagination for centuries. These mythical creatures that transform from human to wolf when the moon is full are prevalent in folklore around the world. But what makes the werewolf tick? As human-wolf hybrids, werewolves exhibit characteristics of both man and beast. This means they likely experience a range of complex emotions, including fear. But what could possibly frighten these imposing monsters? Let’s explore what makes a werewolf afraid.

The Werewolf’s Dual Nature

Werewolves are unique among mythical creatures because of their ability to transform from man to wolf. This dual nature means werewolves can experience human emotions like fear, as well as animal instincts. When in human form, a werewolf may be afraid of typical human fears like failure, rejection, or death. But when transformed under the full moon, werewolves are driven by lupine instincts and may exhibit fear of things that threaten wolf survival. Their dual nature likely means werewolves are afraid of threats in both forms.

Human Fears

In their human form, werewolves may experience fear like any other person. As humans living double lives, werewolves likely fear being exposed or rejected because of their monstrous alter ego. They may be afraid of failing to contain their transformations and hurting someone they care about. Werewolves probably fear persecution and even death if their true nature is revealed. Living with the werewolf curse is isolating, so human werewolves likely struggle with loneliness and depression. At their core, their human sides understand the monster they become and fear harming others. Their human fears reflect anxiety about losing control.

Wolf Fears

When transformed under the full moon, a werewolf is driven by lupine instincts and behaviors. In wolf form, werewolves may exhibit fear responses natural to regular wolves. As pack animals, wolves fear exclusion from the group which would leave them vulnerable. Werewolves likely share this pack mentality and dread isolation. Wolves also fear predators who threaten the pack like bears, big cats, and hyenas. Werewolves may appear monstrous, but in wolf form they can become prey. Wolves are watchful of territorial threats from rival packs. For a werewolf, other werewolves could present a territorial threat. In wolf form, werewolves likely feel fear of things that endanger the pack.

What Werewolves Fear Most

Based on their dual human-wolf nature, several key fears are likely to plague a werewolf in either form. These include:


Few things strike fear into a werewolf’s heart like silver. According to myth, silver in the form of bullets or blades is deadly to werewolves. Silver represents one of the main weaknesses that make werewolves vulnerable to humans. Silver poisoning is likely excruciatingly painful to werewolves. For this reason, silver weapons provoke visceral fear as a lethal threat whether a werewolf is in wolf or human form.


Wolfsbane is another traditional werewolf killer. Also known as aconite or monkshood, this poisonous plant is said to cause paralysis and agonizing slow death in werewolves. Much like silver, encountering wolfsbane fills werewolves with dread. They fear the plant could expose their true nature or be used against them by monster hunters. Both silver and wolfsbane are linked to werewolf executions, so encountering either substance may invoke fear of death by anti-werewolf militant groups.

Full Moon

The full moon holds a dual meaning for werewolves. Its light starts their transformation from man to beast, which werewolves may both long for and dread. The full moon represents a loss of control as human gives way fully to wolf. Werewolves likely fear harming others during this uncontrolled state. And if they are isolated from their pack, full moons leave werewolves vulnerable to threats. Full moons may provoke anxiety about loss of humanity and isolation while in wolf form.


Werewolves dread their true nature being exposed. If outed as monsters, they face violence, persecution, and death at the hands of humans. A mob of superstitious villagers with torches and pitchforks is one of the most feared threats. Werewolves are terrified at the prospect of being hunted down, tortured, or even dissected for research. They may also fear exile from their human loved ones if discovered. Living in secrecy is necessary for survival, so discovery remains a top fear.

Loss of Control

For werewolves cursed to transform against their will, loss of control over their monstrous side is a major fear. They are terrified of hurting or infecting someone they care about. And being consumed by wolf instincts makes them vulnerable to silver, wolfsbane, and discovery. Loss of control under the full moon is a primary source of anxiety for werewolves in human form, and may motivate them to take precautions to contain transformations.

Why Werewolves Howl at the Moon

Werewolves’ distinctive howls at the full moon are their most iconic trait. But why do they vocalize in this way? Here are some possible reasons behind the bone-chilling howls.

Pack Communication

In wolf form, howling helps werewolves broadcast their location to the pack so they can assemble for hunting and protection. It allows separated members to reconnect. The pack is strongest as a unit, so howling is key to reuniting and maintaining group cooperation under the full moon.

Warding Off Threats

A wolf’s howl can carry for miles and signal to rivals to keep their distance. By howling, werewolves in wolf form may be warning rival werewolves and predators not to approach their territory or face attack. Howling advertises their presence and readiness to defend the pack.

Releasing Emotion

Howling may also help werewolves release some of the mental anguish that comes from their duality. The mournful howl allows them to vent their isolation, confusion, and dread of transformation. It’s an emotional outlet for the struggle between human and beast.

Celebrating Freedom

Alternatively, werewolves may howl with joy and celebration on the full moon as they revel in their transformed freedom. Unrestrained by human limits, howling reflects the euphoria and wild abandon they feel as wolves. It’s a song of liberation under the moonlight.

Defense Strategies for Werewolves

Due to the many threats they face, werewolves have adopted strategies to help control transformations and preserve secrecy. Here are some common protective behaviors:


Many werewolves lock themselves up or hide away from populated areas during full moons. This self-imposed isolation minimizes risks and helps keep their monster at bay. Chaining themselves in basements or remote caves is a simple but effective strategy.

Warding Totems

Talismans and totems marked with occult symbols are used to try and ward off involuntary transformation. Common symbols thought to offer protection include pentagrams, Saint Hubert’s Key, and wolfsbane flowers. These warding totems provide a supernatural defense.

Monitoring the Moon

Keeping close track of the lunar cycle enables werewolves to prepare for transformation by confining and restraining themselves. Although the full moon triggers the change, werewolves often begin feeling effects a few days prior. Close moon monitoring is key to control.

Seeking Pack Support

Having trusted members of their pack provide security during confinement and help conceal transformations is important. The pack can form a protective barrier and early warning system. Pack support gives werewolves some peace of mind amidst the chaos of transformation.

Avoiding Silver & Wolfsbane

Since silver and wolfsbane are toxic to werewolves, they avoid contact with these threats in human form through caution and detection. Visiting antique stores, herbalists or garden centers provokes anxiety. Carefully vetting their food and environment helps werewolves steer clear.


The werewolf’s existence is defined by a balancing act between human and wolf natures. This grants them a rich emotional complexity but also deep-seated fears. Vulnerable to multiple threats, werewolves are frightened by dangers from both their human and lupine aspects. But they have also developed strategies to try exerting some control over their transformations. The werewolf’s struggle exemplifies the human quest for control over our deepest instincts and impulses even in the face of powerful forces we cannot tame. Perhaps in that, werewolves are more relatable than we may have thought.

Werewolf Pop Culture References Over Time

Werewolves have been a popular subject of books, movies, TV shows and more for decades. Here is a timeline showing some key pop culture werewolf highlights through the years:

Year Werewolf Reference
1935 Werewolf of London movie
1941 The Wolf Man movie
1957 I Was a Teenage Werewolf movie
1961 The Curse of the Werewolf movie
1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie features song “The Time Warp” with lyrics about a werewolf
1981 An American Werewolf in London movie
1985 Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video shows Jackson transform into a werewolf
1987 Teen Wolf comedy movie and later TV series
1999 Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show features werewolf character Oz
2008 Twilight movie series features Native American werewolves
2011 Being Human UK TV series includes werewolf characters
2011 Red Riding Hood movie tells a werewolf story
2020 Midnight Moon Werewolf graphic novel

This table illustrates the enduring appeal of werewolves in entertainment media over the past century. From classic monster movies to young adult fiction, werewolf legends continue to capture our imagination. Their primal transformation resonates with the human struggle between civilized society and our wild impulses. As long as we grapple with our dual natures, werewolves will continue stalking our dreams and nightmares.