There’s a Rattlesnake Museum!

New Mexico really IS “The Land of Enchantment” because I’ll tell you, I was fascinated at Albuquerque’s Rattlesnake Museum. Me, with snakes? Willingly? Yeah, that’s both how much I’ve grown on this trip and how interesting these slithering, disgusting creatures are.

This Is Rattlesnake Country

Rattlesnake warnings have been almost daily since I reached Texas back in November.


I’m thankful for the (relative) cold because the snakes are burrowed, as they should be, always. So I’ve not encountered any in my adventures.

After signing the first waiver that warned me of their presence, I realized mid-trek that I don’t know what to do upon encountering one. So I Googled it: You stand uber still. Then s.l.o.o.o.o.w.l.y. walk backwards. Then when you’re five feet away–out of its striking distance–you run. I’m not a particularly graceful runner (ask anyone who’s seen me scurry across the street when there’s no legit crosswalk), so I’m glad I have’t (yet) had to embarrass myself in front of any snakes.

Why Exactly Did I Go to the Rattlesnake Museum?

How can you NOT go to a museum for rattlesnakes?

rattlesnake museum logo

Plus, I thought it would be about lore, and antidotes, and stories of scary encounters, and… But it wasn’t. It’s some dudes who collect snakes and realized they could make money charging people $5.oo to see them.

It’s “over” 31 species of snake, mostly rattler, and they boast more rattlers than all the big US zoos combined.

I admittedly hadn’t thought about the varieties of rattlers–mostly because I hadn’t thought about rattlers at all. Some are immense and strong and terrifying. Some are skinny and faint-colored and terrifying.

The “museum” also has videos playing about lizards and such, and actual lizards and such to look at, but not touch.

Was it Worth Five Dollars?

Oh hell, yeah!

This beast saw me–they can see, in case you didn’t know. I didn’t, I thought they “saw” with their forked tongues, feeling the landscape. OK, so it saw me, and immediately started climbing the walls of its glass terrarium. I had chills all over my skin. But to call it chills is too banal. I was extremely alive–mostly with fear–but it was quelled (some) by the knowledge that the snake was encased. I could feel my skin–have you experienced that? But I didn’t want to walk away–again, the encasement. My hair may have stood up on my arms and neck, but I was too focused on the significant beating of my heart to notice.

diamondback rattlesnake


This next guy inspired the “curator” to repeatedly say that snakes are stupid.

I waited 30 minutes (no exaggeration), wasting precious parking meter time, for that mouse to be consumed and the damn snake never did it. They say it’s because they know that there are huge predators around, and the snake is wary to eat because then it would have to spit out the food for an attack. Fine, fine, basic instincts at play, but I wanted to see some snake action, people.

snake and mouse w a side of grapes

I did get to see it open its mouth and that is one freakish skill. It just keeps getting wider. And the fangs are visible. And then casually it closes up again. Kinda like a chiropractic adjustment, the snake is getting its jaw ready to eat. Go to Google Images to explore as much as you like. Candidly, Bing has better pics, but they don’t give the ability to link to them…

What’s with the Rattles?

They shake them when they’re scared. Wouldn’t you?

That’s part of why I got this Certificate of Bravery. I think I’m gonna frame it.

certificate of bravery

There are More Snake-People Than I Care to Know

I don’t mean people who are part-snake, but people who like them. Blech.

snake license plates


Which creature scares the living sense out of you? And why?

10 Responses


I hope you will share the picture of the play ground and do not enter sign with failblog.

If you were ever going to charge for something you enjoy collecting, what would your museum focus on?

Jef – thanks for introducing me to failblog. I have many to submit to them!
Excellent question about the museum. Hmmm. I love the antique bottles my grandfather collected. Maybe my collection of postcards from every state? You?


What is it about snakes that creeps us out? And hey, if you want to hear a guy sing the feeling of your skin crawling, listen to the refrain of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Snake Farm. You can hear it on iTunes.

It’s a funky, droll song (his girlfriend, Ramona works at the, ugh, snake farm) with a drivin’ rhythm just like your heart in front of that glass case. It’s one of my best treadmill warm-ups. I mean, how can you not love a song with the lyric: Snake farm – sounds real nasty. Snake farm, pretty much is.

Bing Crosby is just writhing in his grave.

Jeannine – Bing Crosby is writhing in his grave? Perfect.


Without snakes we’d be even more over run with rodents. Do you remember the family finding a nest of rattlesnakes with a mommy and daddy and a cluster of hatchlings? it was most heart warming.

Dad – just bc snakes do a service doesn’t mean i have to empirically like them. Comcast does a service and Mom doesn’t empirically like THEM…

I have to admit snakes don’t bother me too much, but then I haven’t been around too many dangerous ones or big ones. Gardner snakes are kinda cute and they are interesting to watch, as are spiders BUT I will kill any spider that thinks it can get close to me. But really the critter I most detest(and call me crazy) but it’s a tick. I find them to be absolutely disgusting creatures and the way their bodies expand with blood freaks me out. I just want to kill any and all of them haha. A rattler museum would be cool to go see. I think my collection of sand from all the different beaches I have been is kinda neat, I don’t think anybody would pay to see them but I find them neat. Sand is very different depending upon where you go. Enjoyed reading your post :).
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Light of World Photo – good call on ticks. And love that you have a collection of sand. What do you keep the “samples” in?

What really amazes me is that in spite of being scared to death of these snakes, you still made the trip! I say, that certificate is very very well deserved. Isn’t that is why we all travel for? To do what fears us the most! Well done =)

Thanks for the context and insight. What certificate do you deserve from your travels?

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