Then they wouldn't be necessarily scared of the reptile, but scared of the situation.
Yes, true. Well in my case, even it were at a zoo and I was next to a 15 ft croc, not seperated by glass or anything, I would be fearful. Fear is what keeps people on their toes in those situations.
Have you ever noticed Steve Irwin when he is handling either a highly venenomous snake or encounters an animal that he knows is dangerous. He will tremble with fear and will admit it. I guess its not that he is "scared" to touch the snake or whatever, but that kinda fear gives people a rush. (i.e. SKYDIVING!!!)