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Freezing North Carolina Alligators Are Keeping Their Noses Above the Ice to Survive
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, January 29, 2019 @ 07:00 PM (EST)
Source: Charlotte Observer

If you’re in the U.S. feeling the chill of what one weatherman called a “once-in-a-generation” cold snap—a blast of icy air from the Arctic caused by the so-called polar vortex—look on the bright side: at least you’re not frozen in place in a North Carolina swamp. That’s the fine mess a troop of alligators have got themselves into at The Swamp Park, a 65-acre reserve along the Shallotte River, around 200 miles east of Charlotte, NC.

This is actually the second time that the park’s gators have been observed lying still in the frozen water with their noses just above the surface—chilling, quite literally. In January last year, the same thing happened, and after thawing out a few days later, the animals seemed just fine—if a little “grouchy,” as the Charlotte Observer reported at the time. To conserve energy in such situations, alligators enter a dormant state called brumation, where physiological processes like heart rate, breathing and body temperature regulation all slow down. It’s somewhat similar to hibernation, though it’s not a deep slumber—the alligators are ready to go eat as soon as the melt comes.    

A video of the iced alligators on the park’s Facebook page has been viewed more than 120,000 times, but there’s not much to see: You can get the idea about the gators’ predicament by looking at these stills from The Swamp Park’s Facebook page.



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