Snapped! Alligator makes for a graduation photo with a difference

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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.

That's what Makenzie Noland did to commemorate her upcoming graduation from Texas A&M. She recently posted the photos with the caption: "Not your typical graduation picture".

Makenzie Noland developed a one-of-a-kind bond with a almost 14-foot long and 1,000-pound alligator during her summer internship at Gator Country Rescue in Beaumont, Texas. Since its publication on Friday, Noland's post has more than 200 shares and it only keeps growing. Noland is an old hand with alligators who is about to receive her degree in wildlife ecology. And some are not definitely not as friendly as Big Tex.

"I get in the water with that animal every day - he's one of my best friends there!" she said, dismissing concerns for her safety.

It was only a matter of time - a few weeks, to be exact - before she was tickling his nose and giving him food and kisses.

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

The rescue centre is owned by Arlie Hammonds and Gary Saurage and claims to be the largest alligator sanctuary in south-east Texas, home to more than 450 alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles.

"Every single time I get in the water with him I realize how huge of a creature he is". Because of her relationship with the animal, she wasn't frightened, she said. "I'm trained", 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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