Student poses with giant gator for graduation photo

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With graduation a highlight for many students, it makes sense to get fun and creative with graduation pictures.

A new college graduate took to the swamp to celebrate her biggest achievement thus far - graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in Wildlife Ecology.

Makenzie Noland, 21, marked the end of her undergraduate career at Texas A&M University with a series of snaps showing her getting up close and personal with the creature. Since its publication on Friday, Noland's post has more than 200 shares and it only keeps growing.

"Whenever you're training a puppy, you commend them for sitting down and give them a treat", Noland explained as to how comfortable she is with the reptile. She waded knee-deep into a pond wearing her maroon cap and sash (no gown; that might have gotten too soggy) and posed with "Big Tex".


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

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

"He's one of my best friends here", Noland told KTXS.

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. But Noland tickles Tex's nose and tosses food into his mouth to reward him for good behavior.


"I get in the water with him every day. I'm trained", she said.

"It took him a few weeks for him to like me", she said.

Noland told the BBC she initially intended her graduation pictures to serve as a showcase for the work she has been doing at the centre.


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