noun \ˈra-təl-ˌsnāk\

: a poisonous American snake with a group of hard, loose pieces (called scales) at the end of its tail that it shakes to make a noise

Full Definition of RATTLESNAKE

:  any of several American pit vipers (genera Crotalus and Sistrurus) that have horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp rattling sound when shaken

Illustration of RATTLESNAKE

First Known Use of RATTLESNAKE



noun \ˈrat-əl-ˌsnāk\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of RATTLESNAKE

: any of the American pit vipers that have a series of horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp rattling sound when vibrated and that comprise the genera Sistrurus and Crotalus—see diamondback rattlesnake, tiger rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake

Illustration of RATTLESNAKE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus).—Jack Dermid

Any of about 30 species in two genera of New World pit vipers having a tail rattle that produces a buzzing sound when vibrated. The rattle is composed of horny, loosely connected segments added one at a time with each molt. Sistrurus species have large scales on the top of the head. Crotalus species have mostly small scales on the head. Species range from 1 to 8 ft (30 to 250 cm) long. Most eat small animals, primarily rodents, birds, and lizards. All bear live young. In hot areas rattlesnakes become nocturnal; in cold areas they hibernate in groups. Heat-sensitive organs on the sides of the head help them locate and strike their prey. A rattlesnake bite is painful and can be fatal if not treated. See also sidewinder.


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