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The rattlesnake is a kind of snake, a reptile. About 50 kinds of rattlesnakes are known: they are a kind of pit viper. There are two groups of rattlesnakes: the genera) Crotalus and Sistrurus. All have a venomous bite, and some are much more dangerous than others. Pit vipers have a set of heat-sensing "pits" on their faces that help them find prey and move towards it, even in the dark.
The name rattlesnake is used because they have a special tail with several parts on the end that can make a loud bzzzz sound, or rattle. This defends them against predators and large animals. It acts as a warning signal.