Alligators stick snouts through ice to survive freezing conditions, swamp park says

Posted at 9:55 AM, Jan 09, 2018

It's not often that temperatures in North Carolina get below freezing, so a recent freeze has taken some getting used to for Tar Heel State residents — and wildlife.

Video taken by visitors to the Shallotte River Swamp Park shows alligator snouts poking out of the icy conditions. According to park officials, it's not out of the ordinary — they're just attempting to acclimating to the freezing conditions. 




American alligators can live in water temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Officials with the park say when the water or air temperature is too low for them to be active, they go into a state of brumation, similar to hibernation. Their metabolism slows down in the cold conditions and they go into a lethargic state.

Alligators can hold their breath for up to 24 hours, according to the Swamp Park. So if they need to breathe, they poke their snouts through the top of the water or the ice to get some sunshine and some fresh air. The rest of their body will suspend in the water during this time. Learn more here

As soon as the ice melts, the reptiles will come out of the water to sunbathe and warm back up. 

Kelly Bazzle is the Digital Executive Producer at ABC Action News. Follow her on Twitter