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Texas A&M student gigs 'em with gator for graduation photos

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

A university student who posed for a photo shoot with a massive alligator named Big Tex to celebrate her graduation this week has been getting shocked responses from all over the world - and some unusually good press for her reptilian mate.

Noland's picture wasn't almost as polarizing, but some people thought it was foolishly unsafe for her to risk life and limb for a graduation shot.

Texas A&M graduate Makenzie Alexis Noland shared graduation photos of her with a 14-foot alligator taken at Gator Country, where she recently interned.

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

The place has 370 alligators, but she developed a special bond with one in particular. One photo has her giving the camera a thumbs up.

Tex even let Noland balance her university ring on his snout as part of the unusual photoshoot.

"I've been working with him to get to this point to be able to feed him by myself so it was intense", Noland wrote.

Her photos have almost 4,000 shares and over 1,000 likes on Facebook in just three days.

Makenzie Noland posted the courageous and daring pictures online, which quickly went viral.

"In all reality we don't want to bring these animals back, we want them to live in the bayous and canals out in the swampy areas", she said. "We'd rather leave them in their natural habitat".

However, she is not from Texas where seeing alligators and crocodiles in parks and homes is a common affair. "Starting from a young age I was always picking up snakes, holding animals, talking to kids and educating the public", she told BBC.

"I would never do anything to risk my own life".

She said his demeanor reminds her of a puppy. I'm doing things supervised. We look at all that behavior.

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