The well-kept landscaped area outside the Galveston County Courthouse may be pleasing to the eye, but these warning signs are not- at least to most people.
Chris Bednarski would be an exception.
("Thirty years ago, western diamond back rattlesnakes were very common in Galveston," Bednarski said. "Now that there's a lot of human encroachment, they're not as common, but these animals were here far before we were so your backyard is technically their yard."")
Bednarski works with snakes and other reptiles at the Houston Zoo, and says the snakes that have been spotted in front of the courthouse probably took a liking to the tall ornamental grass and shouldn't cause reason to panic.
"You don't want to approach it and pick it up and test your luck, but If it's in front of you, just move around it. It will be fine," Bednarski said. "They don't like you. They don't want to be near you. They don't want to have anything to do with people. they want to be out in the wild doing what they do."
The actual sign reads: Warning: "Rattlesnakes in Area." Fox 26 legal analyst found it a bit amusing.
"It happens to be at the courthouse," he said through laughter, " which is where you're going to find us."
You'll find no shortage of lawyer jokes related to the warning on our Fox 26 Houston Facebook fan page, but on a more serious note, take the signs seriously. Tritico says if you get bit, you can't file a lawsuit.
"In a personal injury case, the only way you can hold a governmental entity liable is if you're injured by their property," Tritico said. "So these rattlesnakes taking up home on the governments property doesn't make them a part of the governmental property."
By the way, that also applies to snake on your private property. If someone gets bit and it's not your animal, you didn't invite it there, you didn't keep it there, Tritico says, you're not responsible.