Alligators Freeze With Noses Above Ice in North Carolina Swamp

By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter

January 25, 2019

Alligators in North Carolina are freaking out tourists after an artic blast dropped temperatures in the region, forcing the cold-blooded reptiles to enter a state of "Brumation", with their noses sticking out the icy water so they can breathe. 

Photos of the frozen reptiles were posted to The Swamp Park's Facebook page Thursday. 

George Howard, the manager at The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, said all 18 American alligators at the park froze Monday night and stayed that way through Tuesday. When the air or water temperatures in the alligator's environment fall below freezing, the reptiles go into a "state of brumation," which is a hibernation-like state for reptiles. 

Temps in Ocean Isle Beach dropped below freezing on Monday

A similar phenomenon was observed last year at the same park. Those gators thawed out after a few days and had no apparent injuries as a result of their time in the deep freeze. 

 Alligators can live in waters as cold as 40 degrees, animal experts say. They are mostly found in the southeastern United States with Louisiana boasting the largest alligator population. The cold-blooded reptiles are generally intimidated by humans, and tend to flee when one approaches. Of course, it's a little harder to get away when you're frozen in ice like this. 

"Often during this time, an alligator will stay at the bottom of a body of water," Howard wrote on a blog describing the alligator's actions. "An alligator can hold its breath underwater for 1 to 24 hours."

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