Hybernating Alligators Have to Poke Through Carolina Ice to Breath

Video shows alligators surviving frigid, freezing North Carolina water by keeping their nostrils in the air

Hybernating Alligators Have to Poke Through Carolina Ice to Breath

Footage taken by an NBC affiliate station showed a handful of the reptiles at the Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach breathing through gaps they created using their snouts in a pond that has been frozen by the brutal cold spell ravaging the United States.

Experts say the alligators instinctively know when water they're in is about to freeze, so they stick out their noses at the right time to breathe.

However, a layer of ice had formed on top of the swamp in the Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach last Friday, and stayed solid throughout the weekend. Alligators, he explained, don't like subfreezing temperatures any more than warmblooded humans, and when faced with such extremes they go into survival mode.

When the temperature drops lower than 40 degrees, as it has across the country in recent days, alligators go in to a hibernation-like state called brumation.

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Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

The park later posted an update video on January 9 to show the alligators swimming around after the ice had thawed.

All of the alligators in the park have been rescued from captivity and therefore can not go back to the wild.

"It's a survival mechanism", George Howard, the general manager of the park, told local reporters on Tuesday, "They'll go wherever it is warmest". At least not while the water is still frozen around them.

A Carolina Coastal Review study suggested the farthest west they might appear would be Richmond County, though none have been recorded living naturally past eastern Scotland County.

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