Alligators poke noses out from under ice to survive cold

By Ben Hooper
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Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A North Carolina rescue group posted a video showing the unusual way their their alligators survive in icy conditions.

The Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach posted a video to Facebook and YouTube showing one of the park's rescue alligators with only its nose poking up through the ice on the surface of the water.


George Howard, the park's general manager, said the alligators at the facility are using a form of hibernation called brumination to lower their body temperatures and metabolisms so they can keep warm enough to survive the cold conditions.

"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 told WECT-TV. "[It's] just an absolute amazing survival technique and these guys were built tough millions of years ago and they remain tough today."

Howard said he first spotted the American alligators assuming the position after Wednesday's snow.

"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."


"It made sense immediately why they were doing it. But just to be careful, I researched it very quickly to make sure that was OK because I have never seen that before," he said.

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