rattlesnake


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rattlesnake,

poisonous New World snake of the pit viperpit viper,
poisonous snake of the family Crotalidae, primarily a New World family. Like the Old World true vipers (family Viperidae), pit vipers have long, hollow, erectile fangs that are folded back against the roof of the mouth except when the snake is striking.
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 family, distinguished by a rattle at the end of the tail. The head is triangular, being widened at the base. The rattle is a series of dried, hollow segments of skin, which, when shaken, make a whirring sound. When the snake is alarmed, it shakes its tail, and the noise serves as a warning to the attacker. While the snake is young, three or four segments are usually added each year, one at each molt. After maturity fewer develop and old ones start to break off. Rattlesnakes feed on rodents, birds, and other warm-blooded animals. Like other pit vipers, they have heat-sensitive organs in pits on the sides of the head, which help them locate and strike at their prey. The erectile fangs are folded back in the mouth, except when the snake strikes. The venom is highly toxic to humans and occasionally proves fatal (see snakebitesnakebite,
wound inflicted by the teeth of a snake. The bite of a nonvenomous snake is rarely serious. Venomous snakes have fangs, hollow teeth through which poison is injected into a victim.
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). Rattlesnakes bear live young. Most species are classified in the genus Crotalus. The timber rattlesnake, C. horridus, is found from S Maine to NE Florida and W to Iowa and Texas. It is from 3 1-2 to 5 ft (105–150 cm) long and is yellow or tan with wide, dark crossbands. The largest and deadliest species is the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, C. adamanteus, of the S and SE United States, which reaches a length of 5 to 8 ft (1.5–2.4 m). The western diamondback, C. atrox, is shorter and thicker. The western, or prairie, rattlesnake, C. viridis, sometimes lives in prairie-dog burrows. The sidewindersidewinder,
common name for a rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, found in the deserts of the SW United States. This 2-ft (60-cm), pale yellow and pink snake is named for its curious method of locomotion.
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, C. cerastes, is a North American desert species. The approximately 30 Crotalus species range from S Canada to N Argentina. The genus Sistrurus comprises the three pygmy rattlesnake species of the United States and Mexico. The smallest, S. miliarius, of the SE United States, is under 18 in. (45 cm) long. Rattlesnakes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Crotalidae.

Bibliography

See study by L. M. Klauber (2d ed. 1972).

rattlesnake

[′rad·əl‚snāk]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of a number of species of the genera Sistrurus or Crotalus distinguished by the characteristic rattle on the end of the tail.

rattlesnake

venomous snake, often deadly. [Zoology: NCE, 2281]

rattlesnake

any of the venomous New World snakes constituting the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, such as C. horridus (black or timber rattlesnake): family Crotalidae (pit vipers). They have a series of loose horny segments on the tail that are vibrated to produce a buzzing or whirring sound
References in classic literature ?
Bless you, yes, they all leave their special tracks, and we don't want ours to be extra special; the Dunlop's like a rattlesnake, and the Palmer leaves telegraph-wires, but surely the serpent is more in our line.
He drew up lists of the most incongruous things and was unhappy until he succeeded in establishing kinship between them all - kinship between love, poetry, earthquake, fire, rattlesnakes, rainbows, precious gems, monstrosities, sunsets, the roaring of lions, illuminating gas, cannibalism, beauty, murder, lovers, fulcrums, and tobacco.
Likewise Michael came to know what Harley Kennan never did know and always denied as existing on his ranch--the one rocky outcrop, in the dense heart of the mountain forest, where a score of rattlesnakes denned through the winters and warmed themselves in the sun.
For more than a week we had seen, besides ourselves and our animals, only such living things as rattlesnakes and horned toads.
And looking for a nice pair of rattlesnakes, to articulate for a Museum--when I was doomed to fall in with her and deal with her.
I think the post speaks for itself but, what he said was he would rather invite a rattlesnake into his home than an ISIS jihadist terrorist.
Goode's headlamp lights up the orange-and-brown-striped tail of the male tiger rattlesnake as it disappears into desert underbrush.
Told from a boy's viewpoint, the story depicts a desert rattlesnake who follows him home from his day in the desert and applies for family adoption.
Rain-collecting behavior in a Great Basin rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis lutosus).
But new research by a team of University of Maryland biologists shows the timber rattlesnake indirectly benefits humans by keeping Lyme disease in check.
managed to save his own life on Sunday after being bitten by a venomous timber rattlesnake.
the "Company") announces today that it intends to undertake a spinout transaction ("Plan of Arrangement") to reorganize its share capital to create a new public company, Rattlesnake Mining Corp.