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‘Not your traditional graduation picture’: This student’s graduation photos include 14-foot gator


August 10, 2018

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Makenzie Alexis Noland’s graduation picture is anything but traditional.

The Texas A&M graduate went viral this week after posting “not your typical graduation picture” with a 13-foot-8-inch alligator in her photographs.

But it’s not just any old gator. It’s Big Tex, an alligator who weighs 1,000 pounds and is currently the largest live-captured nuisance alligator in the world, according to Gator Country, an adventure park where the animal still lives.

Noland told KTXS the alligator is “one of my best friends here.”

She said she first met Big Tex back in May while she worked at the park on a three-month internship.

In the beginning, she said she would stay outside the fence where the alligator lived. Over time, the two became more comfortable with each other by “scooting closer,” she told The Wichita Eagle.

Now, she said, they have the same relationship she would have with a dog.

“It’s just like how your dog would treat you if you treat him well,” Noland told The Eagle.

Noland will graduate from the school with a major in wildlife ecology.

The Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page said the alligator was “a little too friendly” while he lived in the wild.

The post said humans stopped fearing him.

“While the animal had not aggressively attacked anyone yet, it was considered a little too close for comfort,” the post said.

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