Texas College Student Wades Into Water Wearing Cap And Gown, But Is Met By 1,000-Pound Alligator

by Shellie Renee'

Whoa. This brings new meaning to “Don’t try this at home, folks.” Although it’s pretty common for high school and college graduates to look for ways to stand out on their graduation day, Ms. Makenzie Noland took this to an entirely new level with her now-viral picture of her with an alligator. Not just any alligator, either. “Big Tex” currently holds the world record for being “the largest alligator caught alive.”

So why did 21-year-old Makenzie wade out into the water, tap Big Tex on his nose, and actually beckon him to come closer to her? To be fair, while in school, she majored in wildlife ecology and is planning to intern at an alligator sanctuary in Beaumont, Texas, so it’s not like she doesn’t have a little bit of insight into how to handle huge reptiles.

Something tells us she probably knows that alligators actually have a natural fear of humans (no, really), and they have a tendency to retreat when being approached by people. She’s probably also aware of the fact that if one comes out of the water and walks toward you, it’s probably because it has been fed by humans before and is expecting you to give it a meal. Also, apparently the main way to know if you’re in danger of getting too close to an alligator is if it starts to hiss at you (but who’s ever trying to get that close, right?).

Still, there’s not enough insight into alligators in the world to get most of us to do what Makenzie did (she posted the shots last Friday, and they went viral in just three days!). But whether you’re in shock, awe, or disgust, you’ll just have to take her word for it that she knows what she’s doing with Big Tex.

“I would never do anything to risk my own life. I’m doing things supervised. I’m trained,” she said.  “Animals can react differently to different situations. We look at all that behavior. If the animals aren’t working well, then we’re getting out of the water and letting them be.”

If you like it, we love it, girl.

Happy graduation!

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