Awesome Video Shows How Alligators Can Survive Being Frozen In A Swamp Like Toothy Popsicles

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James Felton and Steve Potvin

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This video shows a lot of alligators with their noses poking out of a frozen swamp in North Carolina. It went viral after Shallotte River Swamp Park posted it to YouTube to show off their rescued alligators. 

Commentors on the video all appear to think that there's no way the alligators survived this. To be fair to them, it does look somewhat like an alligator graveyard, or at least a cryogenic lab for reptiles.


However, these alligators are very much alive and are merely in a state of hibernation called brumation. In this state, the alligators lower their body temperature and metabolism to survive the cold conditions.

The alligators stick their snouts up through the ice like this in the meantime so that they're able to breathe during brumation, George Howard, manager at the swamp park, explained to WECT 6.

Much like the frozen iguanas of Florida last week (or, in fact, all lizards), alligators are able to survive freezing temperatures. All reptiles are cold-blooded, so when the temperature drops they just slow down as their blood begins to turn cold. This immobile state is reversible. When the temperature starts to heat up again the alligators start thermoregulating their body temperatures again.

“They poke their noses up and are able to breathe and be perfectly fine. [T]hey’re doing this as a mechanism so that if it freezes over, they can still breath," Howard said. "[It's] an absolute amazing survival technique. [T]hese guys were built tough millions of years ago and they remain tough today.”