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Gator grad: Aggie takes graduation photos with 14-foot alligator

09 August 2018

We got hold of Makenzie, who said now that Big Tex is used to her, he's just a big ole puppy dog.

Noland said she trained with the 14-foot gator.

She didn't elaborate what kind of "play" one engages in with a giant gator.

"He's one of my best friends here", the soon to be Aggies alumna told KTXS.

Gator Country is the largest alligator adventure park and sanctuary in Southeast Texas, housing over 450 American alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles.

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

"Since I started here I've been working my way up trying to earn the trust of this big gator and today he let me feed him". Oh, and balancing her class ring on his nose.

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.

"I worked with this alligator every day, and I figured, 'Why not wear a dress this time and celebrate my graduation with this incredible animal?'" she told Fox 13. Hammonds "waded chest deep in the water" to take photos of the best friends.

The aspiring zookeeper graduates next week and is already looking forward to the next opportunity to visit Big Tex. "We're gentle with him".

Her graduation snaps (!) were taken by Gator Rescue boss Arlie Hammons, who waded into Tex's pool to get the flawless shot.

A Facebook post from Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge explained: 'While the animal had not aggressively attacked anyone yet, it was considered a little too close for comfort'.

Big Tex had "lost his fear of humans" because people were feeding him, the post said.

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

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

Gator grad: Aggie takes graduation photos with 14-foot alligator