How Alligators Survive in a Frozen Pond

Shallote River Swamp Park    
     ICE COLD The amazing video showing the alligator's methods has gone viral

The animals actually entered the water during last week's "bomb cyclone", which thrust temperatures to record-setting lows.

A "bomb cyclone" hit the East Coast of the U.S. last week, dumping snow as far south as Florida, and causing usually relatively warm and humid swamps to face icy temperatures.

Footage taken by an NBC affiliate station showed a handful of the cold-blooded reptiles at the Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach breathing through the gaps created with their snouts in a pond frozen by a brutal cold spell ravaging the U.S.

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According to Howard, this is not uncommon for alligators, whose bodies experience brumation, a process nearly like hibernation in which a cold-blooded animal's metabolism lowers and its body temperature regulates in order to survive cold climates.

"This is where a reptile's metabolism slows down dramatically and will go into a lethargic state", experts say in the blog. "An alligator can hold its breath underwater for 1 to 24 hours". So if they need to breathe, they poke their snouts through the top of the water or the ice to get some sunshine and some fresh air. "Often during this time, an alligator will stay at the bottom of a body of water". Once it becomes warm and the ice melts, the creatures will thermoregulate their body temperatures to their regular state.

Kelly Bazzle is the Digital Executive Producer at ABC Action News.

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