Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Student includes 14-foot alligator in graduation photos

Student includes 14-foot alligator in graduation photos

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

A student went viral after posing for graduation photos with her "best friend" - an enormous alligator.

This is big Tex the largest alligator we have at Gator Country measuring 13ft 8.5in.

They don't call him big for nothing.

The Texas-sized gator weighs about 1,000 pounds and holds the national record for the "largest live-captured nuisance alligator", according to Gator Country, which is where Big Tex now lives.

Reactions to the photos - both positive and negative - have inspired Noland to continue her mission to educate the public.

Mackenzie Noland, 21, has been interning at a rescue centre as part of her degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences.

The place has 370 alligators, but she developed a special bond with one in particular.

"I get in the water with that animal every day - he's one of my best friends there!" she tells the BBC, shrugging off a question about being scared.

In fact, Big Tex has actually always been a friendly gator, she said. "I'm trained", she said. "He's a real-life dinosaur".

She recently posted the photos on social media with the caption: "Not your typical graduation picture".

Those pictures hit the proverbial Gun Debate nerve, triggering a torrent of criticism and praise.

Her Instagram account shows her pictured with snakes.

'It took him a few weeks for him to like me, ' she said as she described the budding friendship. I'm doing things supervised.

It remains to be seen whether we're on the cusp of a graduation pic fad, and more young people will be inspired by Noland and the other viral posers.

Isn't that was Steve Irwin said?

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