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Student poses with giant alligator for graduation photos

08 August 2018

While studying at Texas A&M, she worked as an intern at alligator sanctuary Gator Country, where the viral photos were taken.

- It took an entire summer to gain the trust of the biggest gator at a wildlife rescue, and one college student chose to celebrate her graduation with the reptile.

One of the photos shows Noland placing her class ring on the snout of a 13-foot, 8-inch gator named Big Tex.

Noland will graduate from A&M with a major in wildlife ecology.

'It's just like how your dog would treat you if you treat him well'.

A Facebook post from the refuge claims that Big Tex had "lost his fear of humans" because visitors were feeding him.

"I get in the water with him every day".

"It took me about two to three weeks to build up that courage and walk in that water and have Tex be okay with me in there", she said.

In fact, Big Tex has actually always been a friendly gator, she said.

Her post, which has gone viral, had garnered over 2,200 likes and reactions, 1,200 comments and 6,700 shares, as of this writing. One photo has her giving the camera a thumbs up.

The photos were posted on social media over the weekend, and immediately received a much larger response than she was expecting, she said. "We'd rather leave them in their natural habitat".

Some have criticized Noland for posting the pictures, calling the act unsafe and questioning why she would put her life in danger.

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

She said his demeanor reminds her of a puppy. "I wouldn't be doing any of this stuff if I thought I was in danger". "Animals can react differently to different situations".

Student poses with giant alligator for graduation photos