Get outta town: Snake nerds should find themselves visiting the American International Rattlesnake Museum

by Amanda Push

Call us a bunch of wimps if you must, but we here at DGO Mag simply can not and will not hang with snakes, particularly the ones that are out to kill you.

However, the American International Rattlesnake Museum in Old Town Albuquerque is a conservation dedicated to educating folks about snakes, rattlesnakes in particular, and while we can think of nothing more horrifying, it turns out a lot of other people think it’s pretty badass. So, here we are, talking about (ugh) snakes.

The Rattlesnake Museum is a quirky, eclectic collection of snakes (lotsa rattlers, as the name indicates), a Gila monster, tortoises, and a variety of other reptilian creatures. In fact, the museum’s claim to fame is that it is host to more rattlesnake species than the Bronx Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., the Denver Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo combined. That’s a lot of snakes in one spot. Too many, in our humble opinion. But don’t worry. The snakes are kept in habitats recreated to mimic their natural environments so they feel at home.

The museum’s goal is to help visitors see how less-than-likable creatures impact humans. They hope to dispel some of the misconceptions and fears people have when it comes to rattlesnakes. “Myths are explored, phobias cured, and mysteries revealed,” the website claims.

Aside from all the poisonous reptiles, the Rattlesnake Museum isn’t afraid to show off its kitschy side with a beer bottle collection, snake oil products, a fitting homage to Steve Irwin, as well as a lot of other displays to keep your brain rattling.

This side trip might not be for everyone (and for those of you who it is not for knew immediately upon reading the headline), but if you’re a science nerd who’s into creepy creatures that may or may not try to murder you with their poisonous fangs, or if you’re at least open to the idea, this weird museum might be your cup of venom, er, tea.

Maybe it would do the DGO staff some good to visit the Rattlesnake Museum to open our minds or whatever. But when it comes us being even slightly cool with this scenario – ie not running back to our cars at superhuman speeds at the sight of a rattlesnake – the staff at the Rattlesnake Museum has their work cut out for them.

Amanda Push


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