College student includes massive gator in graduation photos

Makenzie Alexi Noland posing with alligator Big Tex after graduating from Texas A

She recently posted the photos on social media with the caption: "Not your typical graduation picture".

A student went viral after posing for graduation photos with her "best friend" - an enormous alligator.

"It's something I'm super proud of", she told The Eagle in reference to her gator senior photos, because she and Big Tex were not best friends from the start. She's getting a degree in wildlife ecology and has been interning at Gator Country the past three months.

"It took him a few weeks for him to like me", she said.

"It's just like how your dog would treat you if you treat him well", Noland told The Eagle.

But it's Big Tex that steals the show - a gargantuan alligator who was adopted in 2016 after overfeeding turned him into a nuisance for local boats.

Why did she, um, want to snap photos with a gator?

Since posting the photos to social media, Noland has gotten feedback from some people who love it and others who think what she's doing is insane.

The aspiring zookeeper graduates next week and is already looking forward to the next opportunity to visit Big Tex. He lives at the Gator Country wildlife sanctuary in Beaumont, Texas. "For anyone who criticizes my work or claims that I'm invading these animals' privacy, I'd encourage them to visit me at Gator Country", she says.

Her photos of the unique encounter have now been shared more than 5,500 times on Facebook. The video has had more than 10m views on Facebook since it was first posted. "This is no small task, in fact Tex is very picky about who can get in and feed him, but today a huge step was made all thanks to Arlie Hammonds".



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