How do alligators survive the cold? It’s a pretty unique solution

Alligators in North Carolina stick their noses up through the ice and hibernate on Jan. 8, 2018 (WECT Photo)
Alligators in North Carolina stick their noses up through the ice and hibernate on Jan. 8, 2018 (WECT Photo)

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) Alligators in North Carolina are dealing with the freezing temperatures by sticking their noses up through the ice to breathe.

According to George Howard, the general manager at Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, the gators, including the 12 rescued at the park, stick their noses up through the ice 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.

“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.”

According to Howard, this is completely normal as a survival mechanism for alligators.

The park’s rescued alligators previously have been in captivity and can no longer go back in the wild.

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