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New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

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Platte City...
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New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

We are looking to relocate to Platitas. I have been reading a lot about snakes, especially rattlesnakes in New Mexico. I read that they are quite common and a real nusiance and you often find them in your yard and sometimes in your home. Is this true? I am terrified of snakes and would definately NOT move someplace I would see them. Should I rule out moving to NM and the Southwest?

Moab, Utah
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1. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

I'd be interested in just what it was you've been reading. I've lived in rural NM for 8 years and have yet to see a rattler. Harmless bull snakes are more likely to be seen.

The chances of coming across a rattlesnake in your house are pretty slim. Practice some common sense and you'll probably never see one. Keep the doors to your house and garage shut. Mice attract snakes, so control the rodent population around your house and you won't worry. Due to winter temps snakes are inactive about half the year in No.NM. By far the most common reason people get bit by a rattler is because they tried to harrass or play with it. Believe it or not, snakes want less to do with you than you do with them. Leave them an escape route and they'll take it.

Now, centipedes, they ARE a nuisance! LOL

Atascadero...
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2. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

I can't corroborate the previous poster enough. We live in a rural area north of Santa Fe and have neighbors with lifelong histories here that have never even seen one let alone interacted with one.

I will say that one of my greatest pleasures here was encountering what is called a "Red Racer". This is a large, very beautifully colored snake that can reach 7 feet long when mature that is totally non-venomous, scared to death of humans and eats rodents with a vigor that would make your cat very jealous.

Rattlesnakes are such seclusive and shy creatures, you're more likely to be eaten by coyotes going after your poodle than by them.

If you mean Placitas, then I'd be a lot more worried about your water supply in terms of quantity, quality and groundwater contamination/pollution.

Many areas have both. Not to discourage you but the Placitas area has more than its share of both.

Water issues are a major concern and very real problem in just about every area of the Southwest. Just because an area seems cheaper than others or a realtor hasn't told you about something doesn't mean a problem doesn't exist.

Good luck on your search and ask lots of tough questions of everybody.

Platte City...
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3. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

TimToad123, thank you for your very valuable input. I do mean Placitas as the area we are looking. Specifically, Diamond Tail Ranch. I am not involved with a real estate agent, so I'm gathering bits and pieces whereever I can. (Not interested in acquiring an agent right now.) The information you provided is the first I have heard about the water problem(s).

Actually, we are not sure of the area we would like to live in. However, I'm not really interested in a "family-oriented" subdivision, such as Rio Rancho - not especially fond of living next door to kids and teenagers. Been there, doing that now and not happy with it.

We are looking to build a 4 BR custom home on 1+/- acre. Don't want to live anywhere near an airport (noise) or busy highway (noise) but don't want to be trapped by snow-covered roads in the winter. (As reported by another post.) Prefer not to live south of Albuquerque (airport) or in Santa Fe (too cold). Don't need to commute to work, but don't want to be forced to use congested roadways just to go to the supermarket or post office. Hopefully, there is such an area near Albuquerque. The predominant reason we have chosen Albuquerque, is the weather. Thanks again for your input.

Redmond, WA
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4. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

I was born and raised in Albuquerque. My parents built a custom home 11 years ago in Sandia Heights. That is in the far NE section of Albuquerque. It is gorgeous there! They have views from every window and they are on 3/4 acre. I'm not sure how much land is left around there, but something to consider. Also, back then, they looked at North Albuquerque Acres. Those are 1 acre plats where you can build a custom home. High Desert is another possiblity. It is just south of Sandia Heights.

Good Luck.

Atascadero...
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5. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

You're welcome. I love participating and am glad to play a little devil's advocate if it means you get as fully informed as you can before making such a huge move and investment.

I'm not piping in in order to scare you away or dissuade you, just to offer some realities to consider.

After suffering through an 8 year old severe to devastating drought, New Mexico had one of its wettest years in decades in 2005. But, this winter we've regressed right back to the extreme conditions.

Even under good precipitation conditions there are areas that have outstripped the various aquifers ability to rebound and recharge themselves. I'd consider anywhere near Albuquerque one of those areas.

The entire Southwest is doing a very poor job educating about, enforcing and instituting conservation measures.

The failure to plan for the future and mandating rigid conservation measures is totally obvious.

The "growth" cabal of realtors, builders, developers, banks, tax hungry municipalities will never reveal the cold hard news that one could very well find out on their one when their well runs dry, they have it tested for contaminants, or if digging a new well are forced to dig to incredible depths to even reach water.

And reaching water doesn't guarantee you'll get more than a couple of gallons per minute.

Throw in an increasingly bleak long term picture thanks to climate change and decades worth of records of diminishing supply and it gets a little dicey in certain areas.

We have friends in several areas along the Turquoise Trail near Madrid and Cerrillos that frequently have their wells go dry and have to have water trucked in. They also must filter their water extensively to lower the heavy metals, contaminants and other man-made nasties.

The perception you have of the weather being appreciably better in ABQ versus further north is not all that accurate. On average, the Santa Fe area generally runs about 5-7 degrees cooler during the day and about 10 degrees colder at night during the winter. In the summer the difference can be a little larger. That has its benefits also.

So in mid-July when ABQ is 97, the air can be cut with a knife and the asthma alerts are up, further north its a pleasant 86 with exponentially better air quality.

I find ABQ totally compromised on air quality, especially dust and particulates for much of the late spring, summer and fall months. The combination of a major airport, very busy air force base and lots of industries that many other more forward thinking cities have limited having makes for a bad combination when one considers how the Sandias act as a trap for the pollution.

Its also one of the worst "car dependent" cities I've seen anywhere. With it being primarily a really poor and poor working class town, most folks ain't running around in Prius' and other more earth friendly cars either.

Did I mention our state's legendary DUI problem? Or the appalling low number of citizens who don't bother with car insurance?

All things to consider unless you want to feel cloistered in your house every night or feel fearful every time you hit the highways after dark.

This can be a magical and truly invigorating place to live if one comes in with both eyes open and is prepared to deal with some very deeply entrenched problems.

Platte City...
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6. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

OK, I'm sold. Forget Albuquerque - it's Santa Fe.

Fortunately, I'm in a position I can choose any area and any city to live. I was not aware of the severe water problems as identified by TimToad123 - thank you!

However, I'm not a fan of any place with any snowfall, and sure not Santa Fe's average of 32 inches, according to the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. However, most all the other demographic information provided by the Chamber, is pretty close to what I am looking for and would be happy with, especially the culture and crime indexes. I guess I will never find my utopia.

For someone building a home, what direction of Santa Fe would you recommend. Some realtors divide the area into NE, NW, SE, and SW of city limits, inside city limits, and airport area. (Can already rule out airport area and anything located near flight patterns for sure.)

Any and all suggestions/recommendations will be appreciated. Also, I don't want to monopolize this site, so I'm hoping these questions and responses are valuable to others. Thanks for your help.

Bend, OR
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7. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

Just be aware that most snow is typically gone by mid afternoon as the sun typically comes out soon after each storm. Even if it does not, the roads melt and are plowed quit quickly. Nothing to worry about and I third the snake thing. I try to be outdoors as much as possible and only saw 1 rattler at Chaco Canyon along a remote trail and a milk snake (harmless) crusing across the public GC. As for the side of SF to build on, it depends on what you want. NE contains my favoritearea as it's nestled in the mtns with great sunset view over th eastern mtns as well as the city. Might get a little bit more snow there though and many of those roads don't get plowed by the city. The west side is more open desert terrain with nice vis of all of the surrounding mtns. You might check out Las Companas ( I think thats how it's spelled) in this area as it is quite nice and more of a muture residence (not to mention well to do). SW is the airport area, but it is a muni airport just FYI, so the noise isn't that bad at all. Canon rd is very nice and would be my #2 area to live, but you would occupy a home there, not build one. Hope this helps a bit and at least gets you started.

Atascadero...
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8. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

32 inches of snow on average?

We'd all be dancing in the streets if we averaged 1/2 of that.

For 2005, the Santa Fe airport reported about 13 inches of total precipitation. Probably 11 inches of that fell as rain and that mostly during the late summer monsoon season. And even those are fun.

Between late July and early September, big, beautiful thunder clouds build over the mountains most every afternoon and sometimes it pours for five minutes, sometimes for an hour, sometimes nothing happens, etc......

The rest was in the form of maybe 8-10 snows ranging from dustings to maybe one or two storms of 6-10 inches most of which was melted and gone by the following day. The sun shines 325 days a year on average here and even in the dead of winter it rarely doesn't reach at least the mid 40's during the day.

Another nice trend is that bad weather or really cold spells rarely linger for more than a couple of days. Any visions of long extended cold spells like in the midwest or northeast should be put to rest, we have some of the nicest overall weather around.

I don't want speculate about your financial picture or anyhing like that, but land and construction costs depending on quality and building method are fairly expensive here.

Whether you tap into the municipal water system or buy land with a well, must dig a well and what type of water rights you purchase affects the price also.

There is an awfully large and diverse inventory of existing homes on various size plots of land available to possibly consider.

Are you prepared for the entire process of waiting for all the approvals, dealings with unfamiliar builders and dare I say the "Land of Manana" factor (our state's unofficial nickname, which translates to "I'll get around to it when I get around to it") delays and appalling slowness with which things get done here?

Have you considered the prospect of perhaps coming and getting a feel for the place and renting somewhere for at least a few months before committing to such an expensive proposition?

I'm not trying to pry, just seems like you're open to as much information as possible and there is a lot to consider.

Santa Fe
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9. Re: New Mexico and Rattlesnakes

I am living six years in the countryside off the 285 between El Dorado and Lamy. You might like it here, horse properties, very quiet at night, 20 minutes to downtown Santa Fe, nice easy going people, low crime and the expanding Agora/ El Dorado Village for the daily stuff.

I have seen snakes every summer around my house, all bull snakes,

no rattlers. Coyotes are moving around too.

This area of town is still mainly undiscovered and not too pretentious,

like the North East or Las Campanas. You seriously should check out the place first for a few months, since every area in and around Santa Fe is very particular. The climate is very dry and it never gets too hot in summer and snow does not lasts long. Mostly its gone by midday.

We actually wish this year for some snow and moisture, since it only snowed once so far.

Welcome, it's a magic place. Hope you enjoy it.