Student poses with giant gator for graduation photo

Senior takes graduation photos with one of her ‘best friends’ — a giant Texas gator | The Wichita Eagle

A student preparing to graduate from a Texas university incorporated a almost 14-foot alligator named Big Tex into her graduation photos.

Makenzie Alexis Noland's graduation photos have captured the attention of many, as she included a special friend with her - an alligator. Mackenzie Noland, 21, majored in wildlife ecology and is spending her summer interning at an alligator sanctuary in Beaumont, Texas.

"I get in the water with that animal every day - he's one of my best friends there!" she tells the BBC, shrugging off a question about being scared.

But Noland insists to Inside Edition that she was never in any danger.

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

"In all reality we don't want to bring these animals back (to the centre), we want them to live in the bayous and canals out in the swampy areas", she said.

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

'It's just like how your dog would treat you if you treat him well'.

The star attraction at the facility is a gargantuan beast called Big Tex.

This is big Tex the largest alligator we have at Gator Country measuring 13ft 8.5in.

"Thank you to everyone who has shared my posts and given me all of this support", Noland wrote on Facebook.

But for the skeptics out there, she says come on down to Gator Country! "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". 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.

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