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 periodicals archive ?
One or two puncture wounds, acute swelling, bleeding, and pain are the most common signs of rattlesnake bites.
The day after we reported several eyewitness accounts of the elusive, though deadly, rattlesnakes in close proximity to the Maid of the Mist, an inquiry was made to the local office of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the agency in charge of protecting endangered and threatened species.
The following summer, on a mineral lick in his core area, Rattlesnake showed up again.
"The rattlesnake is different from most other snakes - it lives 20 to 25 years, much longer than other snakes."
The results of the present study provide evidence supporting the conclusion that the VNS is crucial to a rattlesnake's ability to detect chemical cues associated with envenomation.
This is the third hall of fame Rattlesnake will be in.
Schwartz, a Cottage Grove resident who would have been Rattlesnake Creek's administrator, was the administrator at Blue Mountain School in its final year.
Boss Stephen said: "A lot of people would never have the chance to try rattlesnake if it wasn't for me.
The snake oil industry of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which caused commercial depletion of this and other rattlesnake species, is explored in Chapter 5, as is the recent and disturbing demand for poisonous snakes in the pet trade.
This collection of stories about the hunt for Eastern Diamondback, Canebreak, Timber and Massasauga rattlesnakes includes classics from both "old" and "new" oldtimers, with entries dating from the 1930s to the present.
A spokeswoman said: "Rattlesnakes rarely grow to lengths of two metres and are carefully controlled in the UK.
It was hot, way too hot, the wind was blowing like crazy, and there were rattlesnakes everywhere.