I went backpacking over the weekend with Trail Mavens. Our campsite of choice in Point Reyes - Wildcat Camp. It was a 5+ mile trek each way with our packs. While we spotted no wild cats at our campsite, we did see bunnies, mice, quail, and even snakes! With snakes in our midst, the topic of rattlesnakes came up and reminded me of my visit to the American International Rattlesnake Museum in New Mexico.
Devoted to rattlesnake education, the American International Rattlesnake Museum is an animal conservation museum located in Albuquerque. The museum has the largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes in the world. According to their website, that’s 34 species.
The staff regularly participates in international viper research events, and the museum hosts a diverse collection of living rattlesnakes and an extensive library of study material and educational tools. We could have spent hours at the museum just watching the nature videos playing and getting close-ups of the snakes.
Horned Rattlesnake (Sidewinder)
Mottle Rock Rattlesnake
Albino Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Look at that rattle!
The key message I took from visiting the museum was that rattlesnakes are important to the ecosystems in which they live and that if we encounter them, we are far more dangerous to them than they are to us. In most cases, rattlesnakes will make every effort to avoid human contact. They will only rattle when provoked or if there is a serious threat.
In addition to rattlesnakes, the museum holds a few other living creatures worth visiting. Here are just a few:
Alligator Snapping Turtle
There’s also an impressive collection of artifacts with a snake theme: jewelry, paintings, flags and coins. I didn’t take a photo of those, so you’ll have to use your imagination or pay the museum a visit.
It’s worth it, even if you’re afraid of snakes.
Visit American International Rattlesnake Museum
202 San Felipe NW, Suite A
Albuquerque, NM 87104-1426
More info: website