Claire Danes has a “paralysing fear” of rats.

The actress plays a brave character in Homeland, tracking down terrorists and risking her own life for the sake of her country’s safety.

However in real life, the 33-year-old isn’t quite so fearless.

“On a petty level, I am absolutely terrified of rats,” she confessed to British magazine Grazia.

“It’s a paralysing fear. I grew up in downtown New York City, where there were a lot of them. I’ve always been reassured by the fact that my big, burly brother, Asa, is even more afraid of them than I am.”

In the popular thriller series, Claire’s character Carrie Mathison struggles with bipolar disorder and takes drugs to keep her illness under control.

The pretty star admits that losing her sanity is another thing that petrifies her.

“I am also afraid of losing my mind – I really value my sanity,” she explained.

“I think being in prison would [also] be very scary, as well as killing somebody unintentionally or even intentionally. That would be pretty bad and maybe something to avoid.”

Claire is currently expecting her first child with husband Hugh Dancy.

Juggling motherhood with her busy career could be tough, but luckily the star knows how to relax.

“My favourite thing to do is to be with the people I love, eat delicious food, have a glass of wine and take a walk. That’s really it for me. Eat, talk, walk, drink and be,” she concluded.