College student takes graduation photos with massive gator

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

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

- It took an entire summer to gain the trust of the biggest gator at a wildlife rescue, and one college student made a decision to celebrate her graduation with the reptile.

Makenzie Noland marked the end of her internship with Gator Country in Beaumont by posing with Big Tex, a 13-foot 8.5-inch alligator. Noland will be graduating from Texas A&M with a major in Wildlife Ecology.

'It took him a few weeks for him to like me, ' she said as she described the budding friendship.

With time the two got more comfortable with each other, and eventually they formed an unusually strong bond.

"It's just like how your dog would treat you if you treat him well", Noland told The Eagle. Hammonds "waded chest deep in the water" to take photos of the best friends.

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She said she hopes to land a job at the Dallas Zoo, but will be sure to come back to visit Big Tex.

In fact, Big Tex has actually always been a friendly gator, she said.

Tex - who is the largest live "nuisance" gator in captivity - was brought to the center in October 2016 after losing his fear of humans after people kept feeding him.

"While the animal had not aggressively attacked anyone yet, it was considered a little too close for comfort", the post said. The Aggie student shared her photos last Friday with the caption "Not your typical graduation photo".

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