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. When she first started working with him, she would stay outside of the fence. During her internship, she developed a strong bond with this alligator named Tex, and to celebrate the occasion, she chose to take a few snaps with it who she dubbed as a "sweetheart", and 'best friend'.
Makenzie Noland is graduating from Texas A&M University this weekend, with a degree in wildlife ecology. "It is definitely pretty intimidating when you are standing next to an alligator who has a mouth full of 80 sharp teeth that can slam down with nearly 3,000 pounds [of pressure] per square inch".
Noland, who said in a follow-up post that she was "overwhelmed" by the attention the photos have attracted, says she hopes to go on to work in a zoo.
She didn't elaborate what kind of "play" one engages in with a giant gator.
"This is no small task, in fact, Tex is very picky about who can get in and feed him, but today a huge step was made", Noland said in her post. Because of this, he was relocated to Gator Country from his home, Champion Lake at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, in October 2016.
Makenzie learned Big Tex's favorite tricks and he warmed up to her, but she said all the gators have different personalities - and some are not definitely not as friendly.
There is also video of her feeding big Tex and she appears to have trained him to come to her when beckoned and even "beg" for food. So, he was caught and gets to "live the remainder of his life at Gator Country".