Texas student poses with alligator for grad photo

Is this photo a problem?

It all depends on your perspective.

For Makenzie Noland, a wildlife ecology student at Texas A&M, posing with an alligator she knows and works with is completely safe.

Big Tex is a 13 foot 8.5 inch alligator at Gator Country, a rescue centre in Texas. He is the biggest alligator at the sanctuary.

Tex was adopted a few years ago. Noland, an intern at Gator Country, said this was not the typical grad photo.

The student, originally from Bellevue in Nebraska, said Tex was adopted by the centre a couple of years ago.

According to her social media posts, the animal, who can be fussy about who feeds him, first let Noland do so back in May and they have now become friends.

I get in the water with that animal every day,” she said, adding that she also tickled his nose before feeding him. “Every single time I get in the water with him, I realise how huge he is. He’s a real-life dinosaur.”

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.

Some commentators have praised Noland for being an animal lover. Others said she was foolish to wear a scarf and stand so close to an animal, even one that she claims is tame.

Not your typical graduation picture 🤷🏽‍♀️

A post shared by Makenzie Noland (@kenziealexis) on

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