College Student Hand Feeds 1,000 Pound Gator

Mackenzie Alexis Noland / Facebook

Most people would run the other way if they came face-to-face with a 13 foot, 8.5-inch alligator, but not this gal!

College student Mackenzie Alexis Noland was studying Wildlife Ecology at Texas A&M when she started her internship at Gator Country. With the help of the owner, Arlie Hammonds – Mackenzie worked her way up to do the unthinkable.

During her internship, the brave girl got up close and personal with alligators, snakes, crocodiles and many other reptiles that most people make an extra effort to stay away from. She even worked with venomous snakes and pythons!

The goal of Gator Country is to “provide a comfortable home and adequate care for the animals for the rest of their lives.” Basically, when you call in a nuisance animal – this is where they take them. They also partner with schools and universities to educate students on wildlife preservation.

So this was the perfect place for an aspiring Wildlife Conservationist like Mackenzie to join on for an internship. Her biggest accomplishment while she was there: getting a 1,000 lb, 13’8″ gator to trust her enough to be hand fed.


As Mackenzie stepped into the murky water, bystanders’ hearts raced. The gator got closer and closer until it was up-close-and-personal with the young college girl. To everyone’s surprise, she bent down, holds out her hand, and fearlessly feeds the giant, scaly beast. She even tapped its nose and patted it as though it was a puppy!


Mackenzie is definitely brave to attack this massive challenge, but from the outpour of love she gives Gator Country on her Facebook, it looks like she enjoyed her time working with the dangerous animals. Heck, her graduation pictures for Texas A&M featured her murky-water friend in the photo-shoot.

You can watch her full breath-taking video of how she feeds gators below but please, don’t try this at home!