Alligators are typically found soaking up the sun’s warm rays, so when winter temperatures turn abnormally cold, gators aren’t thrilled. Still, these ancient reptiles know just what to do to survive.
And now we know, too, thanks to a remarkable video that Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., posted to its Facebook page. The video picked up even more steam after it was shared by The Weather Channel.
The cold-blooded creatures are shown immobile in the icy river. They have learned to adapt to frigid conditions by allowing themselves to be frozen in place and poking their snouts above the surface. The reptiles can’t generate their own body heat; however, they are able to lower their body temperatures and metabolisms so that they can survive freezing temperatures.
The gators are able to sense the moment when the water is going to freeze, at which point they stick their noses out and allow the surface to freeze around them, as if that were only a minor inconvenience.
While it appears that the gators have been frozen to death, that is not the case. They are very much alive, just waiting for warmer temperatures to break the ice.
As the narrator in the video says, “Look at those teeth. Pretty amazing. … This is the time of year when they are just hanging out and waiting for it to get warm.”
The video had registered almost 200,000 views and plenty of comments by Tuesday morning. Some wondered if the alligators were employing a survival mechanism. Others asked what would happen if someone actually stumbled over one of their snouts.
Fortunately, the Weather Channel’s AMHQ team was active on the post to answer questions.
So yes, we now know that the gators are indeed employing a survival tactic and will be just fine once the ice melts.
As for as tripping over one of the gators’ snouts if you happen to be prancing around on the frozen pond for some reason? No, AMHQ assures, the gator will not respond.