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(Science: zoology) Any one of several species of venomous American snakes belonging to the genera crotalus and Caudisona, or Sistrurus. They have a series of horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp ratting sound when shaken. The common rattlesnake of the northern united states (Crotalus horridus), and the diamond rattlesnake of the south (C. Adamanteus), are the best known.

(Science: zoology) ground rattlesnake, a small rattlesnake (Caudisona, or Sistrurus, miliaria) of the southern united states, having a small rattle. It has nine large scales on its head.

(Science: botany) Rattlesnake fern, a plant of the composite genus Hieracium (H. Venosum); probably so named from its spotted leaves. See also snakeroot.