Student takes graduation photos with 14-foot alligator

Clay Curtis
August 9, 2018

With over 6,000 shares, at the time of writing, she wrote, "Not your typical graduation picture ‍♀️ @ Gator Country".

Yes, 21-year-old Makenzie Noland, who will be graduating from Texas A&M University with a degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences, made sure it was an affair to remember by posing with a 14-ft-long alligator at a sanctuary in Beaumont.

Makenzie Alexis Noland celebrated finishing Texas A&M by giving the 13 foot, eight inch reptile an affectionate bump on the nose - and shared the moment on Facebook afterwards.

Makenzie learned Big Tex's favorite tricks and he warmed up to her, but she said all the gators have different personalities - and some are not definitely not as friendly.

Noland will graduate from the university August 10 with a degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences.

'It took him a few weeks for him to like me.

Reactions to the photos - both positive and negative - have inspired Noland to continue her mission to educate the public.

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Big Tex holds the record for "Largest Live Captured Nuisance Alligator".

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

However, she is not from Texas where seeing alligators and crocodiles in parks and homes is a common affair. And some are not definitely not as friendly as Big Tex. Because of her relationship with the animal, she wasn't frightened, she said.

In one photo, the daring undergraduate is shown putting her graduating class ring on the giant reptile's nose.

In fact, Big Tex has actually always been a friendly gator, she said. For example, Tex was rescued in 2016 from the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Liberty because he kept begging for food from people in boats.

The photographer, Arlie Hammonds, is co-owner of Gator Country.

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