• The rattles of the rattlesnake
    The rattles of the rattlesnake
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n rattlesnake pit viper with horny segments at the end of the tail that rattle when shaken
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: It can take up to a month for a rattlesnake to re-supply its venom
    • n Rattlesnake răt"t'l*snāk` (Zoöl) Any one of several species of venomous American snakes belonging to the genera Crotalus and Caudisona, or Sistrurus; sometimes also called rattler. They have a series of horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp rattling sound when shaken. The common rattlesnake of the Northern United States (Crotalus horridus), and the diamondback rattlesnakealso called diamondback rattler, and diamondback) of the South and East (Crotalus adamanteus) and West (Crotalus atrox), are the best known. See Illust. of Fang.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Somebody actually timed a rattlesnake mating session that lasted 22.75 hours.
    • n rattlesnake A venomous serpent of the family Crotalidæ, whose tail ends in a rattle or crepitaculum; a crotaliform or solenogly phic serpent, or pit-viper, of either of the genera Crotalus and Crotalophorus. These poisonous reptiles are confined to America, where there are many species. Those whose head is covered on top with scales like those of the back belong to the genus Crotalus; others, with the top of the head plated, belong to Crotalophorus, Caudisona, or Sistrurus. The former are the larger species; both are equally venomous, in proportion to their size, and both have the pit between the eyes and nose characteristic of all the pit-vipers. (See cut under pit-viper.) The rattle is an epidermal or cuticular structure, representing the extreme of development of the horn or spine in which the tail of many other serpents ends. It consists of several hard horny pieces loosely articulated together, so that when rapidly vibrated they make a peculiar whirring or rattling noise. Rattlesnakes are sluggish and naturally inoffensive reptiles, only seeking to destroy their prey, like other animals. When alarmed or irritated they prepare to defend themselves by coiling in the attitude best adapted for striking with the fangs, at the same time sounding the warning rattle, during which process both the head and the tail are held erect. The snake can strike to a distance of about two thirds of its own length. The mechanism of the jaws is such that, when the mouth is wide opeu, the fangs are erected in position for piercing; and, when the mouth closes upon the wound the fangs have made in the flesh, a tiny stream or venom is spirted through each fang into the bitten part. (See cuts under Crutalus and poison-fang.) The poison, which is specially modified saliva, is secreted in a venom-gland near the augle of the jaw, and is conveyed by a venom-duct to the tooth. It is extremely dangerous, readily killing the small animals upon which the snake feeds, and is often fatal to man and other large animals. It has an acid reaction, neutralizable by an alkali, and is harmless when swallowed, if there is no lesion of the mucous membrane, though exceedingly poisonous when introduced into the circulation. The flesh of the rattlesnake is edible, and some animals, as hogs and peccaries, habitually feed upon these snakes. Among the best-known species are the banded and the diamond rattlesnakes, which inhabit eastern as well as other regions of the United States, and sometimes attain a length of 5 or 6 feet; many similarly large ones are found in the west, among them Crotalus pyrrhus, of a reddish color. The commonest species of the west is the Missouri rattlesnake, C. confluentus, very widely distributed from the British to the Mexican boundary. Among the smaller species are the massasauga, Crotalophorus tergeminus (Sistrurus catenatus), also known as the sideuiper, from its habit of wriggling obliquely. One species, C. cerastes, has a small horn over each eye.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The venom of a female black widow spider is more potent than that of a rattlesnake.
    • Rattlesnake a poisonous snake having a number of hard, bony rings loosely jointed at the end of the tail, which make a rattling noise
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  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    “When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike you, do not wait until he has struck before you crush him.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. hrætele, hratele, a plant—from the rattling of the seeds in the capsules; Ger. rasseln, Dut. ratelen, to rattle.


In literature:

He was a shifty-eyed chap, Bagley said, old brown suit, hat with a rattlesnake skin around the crown.
"Judith of Blue Lake Ranch" by Jackson Gregory
A rattlesnake had appeared from a hole in a tree, close to where the dead grouse lay!
"Dave Porter at Star Ranch" by Edward Stratemeyer
Various types of rattlesnakes are shown in Pl.
"Animal Figures in the Maya Codices" by Alfred M. Tozzer and Glover M. Allen
Huxley vowed to himself that before the "Rattlesnake" got back to England he would know more about jellyfish than any other living man.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 12" by Elbert Hubbard
Down with, the rattlesnake!
"The Continental Monthly, Vol. III, No. V, May, 1863" by Various
With rattlesnake fairness the one Hiram chose squeaked a warning before it tried to land him on the back of his neck.
"The She Boss" by Arthur Preston Hankins
Doves among the rattlesnakes.
"The Entailed Hat" by George Alfred Townsend
When she was twelve she told her playmates exciting tales about rattlesnakes.
"The Quirt" by B.M. Bower
The latter related that once upon a time among the glens of their mountains dwelt the prince of rattlesnakes.
"The Myths of the New World" by Daniel G. Brinton
He went up in the mountains and found a den of rattlesnakes to bite him.
"Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves" by Work Projects Administration

In poetry:

The worm that didn't turn
Was a rattlesnake to Joe:
Wasn't scary—- jes' meek, suh,
Was made up so.
"The Ballad Of Joe Meek" by Sterling A Brown
There is left for endless ages
Where the desert breaks:
Yellow bellied lizards, horned Toads and rattlesnakes.
"Heritage" by Norman MacLeod
Nay now, why starts she in her path,
By yonder tangled brake?
'Tis at the dreaded menace sprung
By angry rattlesnake.
"A Ballad Of 1812" by Sarah Anne Curzon
The horizon discovers three desolate isles,
To life and to verdure unknown;
Save the rattlesnake, where in his malice he coils,
Or the myrtle in pity hath grown.
"Cape Romain" by William Crafts
Then he mounted that bear with a handful of hair,
For a quirt used a real rattlesnake,
He rode with a rush out thru the buck-brush,
A-swarin' that beast the would break.
"Yavapai Pete" by Curley Fletcher
He let out a bawl and he went from that spot
Like the ground where he stood had sudden got hot.
He topped that first jump with a shimmy and shake,
Like a-poppin' the head from a live rattlesnake.
"The Ridge-Running Roan" by Curley Fletcher

In news:

On day-one, we visited the ghost towns of Pearce, Courtland, and Gleason east of Tombstone with a short side trip to Rattlesnake Crafts & Rocks.
The race will be September 29 at Rattlesnake Mountain.
Squirrel robots help researchers at the University of California, Davis understand how real squirrels interact with their main predators, rattlesnakes.
When a squirrel approaches a rattlesnake, it wags its tail and sends out an infrared signal from its tail.
Girl Looking For Cellphone Signal Bitten After Stepping On Rattlesnake Nest .
A North Valley school has shut down for the week after five rattlesnakes were discovered on campus in just the past week and a half.
Washington Man Bitten By Rattlesnake At Idaho Wal-Mart.
This past weekend at the 2012 Louisiana Outdoor Expo the A&J Rattlesnake Handlers graced us with their brave presence.
Overkill Debut Music Video for "Electric Rattlesnake".
These guys are from Animal Planet's Rattlesnake Republic.
Rattlesnake Republic is a show featured on Animal Planet where men hunt and capture the continent's most danger.
Hikers can encounter rocky terrain, rattlesnakes and other potential hazards native to the Sonoran Desert.
Teen bitten 6 times by rattlesnakes while searching for cell signal.
You're hiking on remote national park land when you see a rattlesnake blocking the trail just ahead of you.
Recent news and coverage of Rattlesnake .