Recently, we all have noticed that it’s been a little bit chilly outside. Especially across the Atlantic, where even usually sunny and hot places like Florida are seeing cold fronts sweeping through. For human being, they have the luxury of staying inside where it’s warm and turning on the heating so that they don’t get too cold. But what if you’re an alligator that lives in a pond that’s frozen over? What do you do then? This, is the kind of terrifying answer:
The video features alligators at the Shallotte River Swamp Park, in North Carolina, which shows how the creatures are dealing with their pond that has completely frozen over by freezing themselves in place with their snouts sticking through the ice so they can breathe.
Taken by the park’s manager, George Howard, the video shows the creatures essentially hanging from their snouts while they wait for temperatures to rise.
“Just hanging out in the water,” narrates Howard as he zooms in on the snouts sticking up through the ice.
“Pretty amazing. … Look at those teeth. This is the time of year when they are just hanging out, waiting for it to get warm.”
According to an article in the Bradenton Herald, Howard said the alligators instinctively know when the water is about to freeze. They then stick their nose above the surface at precisely the right moment, allowing the water to freeze around them.
He further added that the alligators then enter ‘a state of brumation, like hibernating’. Because they’re cold-blooded and can regulate their body temperature to a variety weather conditions, they can pretty much remain frozen in place until the ice melts.
There are 12 (currently frozen) alligators in the 65-acre park, all of which have been rescued from captivity. Two of them had previously been used as guard animals by some North Carolina drug dealers, which is pretty damn hardcore, although Howard says they were only being fed dog food, not human parts.
The video has prompted lots of questions on the park’s Facebook.
“They will not respond,” the park wrote on Facebook. “They are trying to conserve energy to maintain body temperature.”