Alligators get a nose up on icy conditions

American Alligators surviving recent freezing temperatures


According to George Howard, the general manager at Shallotte River Swamp Park, the gators, including the 12 rescued at the park, stick their noses up through the ice so they’re able to breathe, then they hibernate.

Howard said technically the American alligators’ form of hibernation is called brumation. He said they lower their body temperature and metabolism so they can survive.

American Alligators surviving recent freezing temperatures

When it gets warm again and the ice melts, the alligators will start thermoregulating their body temperatures.

“They poke their noses up and are able to breathe and be perfectly fine, so they’re doing this as a mechanism so that if it freezes over, they can still breath,” Howard said. “(It’s) just an absolute amazing survival technique and these guys were built tough millions of years ago and they remain tough today.”

Howard first noticed the gators’ snouts sticking out of the frozen pond in the 3,000 square foot enclosure when he was checking the enclosure after last Wednesday’s snow storm.

“I looked around and I was like, ‘Hmm, what is that poking up out of the water?'” Howard said. “They almost look like cypress knees a little bit from afar. And then I realized as I saw some teeth that, oh my gosh, these guys are poking their heads up out of the water. Source:

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