The harsh winter weather has been hard on people and animals. Many creatures have been left outside to battle the elements. Cold-blooded creatures obviously have a hard time dealing with the sudden cold snap in areas that are traditionally warm. Despite the severe drop in temperature, alligators are one cold-blooded creature that have adapted quite well to the unusually harsh winter.
A North Carolina park that houses rescued alligators is showing people how these animals survive in such conditions. They regulate their body heat through brumation, which allows them to reduce their metabolism and adjust to a lower body heat.
They allow themselves to be frozen in place with their snouts sticking out of the ice. This enables them to breathe. Just by looking at them, it appears they are dead, but in reality, they are very much alive!
On its Facebook page, Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach showed people multiple alligators frozen in water. It’s rather remarkable! “Just hanging out in the water. Pretty amazing,” the narrator said. “Look at those teeth…This is the time of year when they are just hanging out, waiting for it to get warm.”
Watch the video to see brumation in action! It looks like a frozen alligator graveyard, but it’s not.
Experts say alligators instinctually know that the water is about to freeze, so they get in this position at the right moment. They are sometimes frozen in this position for days before they are able to break free and swim away when the temperature warms up.
Video of some of the gators breaking free is below.
After they break free, the alligators begin regulating their own temperatures again. I don’t think I would want to be anywhere near these creatures when they get their freedom from the ice. I imagine they are rather hungry after being frozen for days!