A Word With
Bob Myers, Snake Man

Bob Myers

Albuquerque Monthly Magazine
November 1995
Photo: Chris Grinnell

   Bob Myers is an extremely normal, extremely polite man who just happens to have an odd profession. He collects snakes. Many kinds, mostly rattlesnakes.

   Myers’ American International Rattlesnake Museum, tucked away into a corner shop in Old Town, is the kind of place where people who are afraid of snakes should not enter. Myers owns dozens of rattlers, all alive (except for one rare rattler lovingly preserved in a jar), all expertly displayed. This is a serious museum, with the snakes’ genus, species, origins and histories carefully labeled on each tank.

   There are some odd snakes, including a big albino rattler, and some with striped markings when they should have diamond markings. By the way, Myers wants to dispel a few rattlesnake myths: Their bites hurt like crazy, and require anti-venom treatment to kill the symptoms, but rarely kill. If a dog is bitten on the snout by a rattler, the dog is likely to live, although its nose will swell up like a watermelon.

   Someday, Myers hopes to construct a bigger rattlesnake museum. "There are plans in the works," he says. "That’s all I can say right now."

Q. Have you ever been bitten?
A. Once, about four months ago, on the finger. Yep, it was my first bite and probably don’t ever want to do that again. I went to the emergency room to get anti-venom ... My entire arm swelled up, there was a tingling in my lips, and a buzzing sensation ... It’s hard to describe, except it’s probably like putting your finger into an electrical outlet.

Q. Do people ever ask you if you’re nuts?
A. Yes, and I say to them, ‘Well, why are you here looking at snakes’?

Q. There is a certain fascination with snakes. What do you think it is?
A. They’re fascinating because they’re so different. No limbs, no eyelids. They are just as different from humans as you can get.

Q. Do you keep snakes at home?
A. A few. Just a few.

Q. How many?
A. A couple pythons, a tree viper. That’s it.


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