from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A small rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius, found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts south of Fort Macon, Ga., up the Mississippi Valley, and west to Oklahoma. It is of a dark ashen-color, marked along the back with rounded brown blotches, and is one of several rattlesnakes to which the name Massasauga is given.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
"Watch your step!" he cried, nimbly avoiding the attentions of a ground-rattler which tried to caress his ankle from under a saw-palmetto.
He noticed, too, her sweetness with the dogs, her quick encouragement when work was well done, her brief rebuke when the red dog, galloping recklessly down wind, jumped a ground-rattler and came within a hair's breadth of being bitten.
So Hamil scooped out a trench with his hunting-knife and they buried the little ground-rattler while both dogs looked on, growling.
Next to these a large sized cotton-mouth moccasin is perhaps most to be dreaded, to be followed, depending upon their size, by the other varieties of rattlesnakes, the copperheads, and finally the ground-rattler.