Here's How Alligators Survive Freezing North Carolina Waters

Casey Dawson
January 10, 2018

The Shallotte River Park Swamp posted a series of videos to YouTube recently to show how the reptiles survive is such cold temperatures. When they feel that water is freezing, they move their nose out of the water and go into hibernation and try to preserve body temperature until the snow melts. "So, what happens when the water or air temperature is too low for them to be active?"

With their bodies on ice, alligators go into a state of dormancy called torpor in which their metabolism slows considerably.

"In that state, they are still alive, still moving, but very lethargic", Howard said, describing torpor.

"(It's) just an absolute awesome survival technique and these guys were built tough millions of years ago and they remain tough today", Howard said. He just wants to make them more comfortable while they wait out the cold.

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Bone-chilling arctic air has created unsafe conditions for a large portion of the United States and has resulted in at least 18 deaths since the beginning of the new year, including four in North Carolina traffic accidents and three in Texas. "Their bodies like the warmth".

However, a layer of ice had formed on top of the swamp in the Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach last Friday, and stayed solid throughout the weekend.

"It's 65 degrees here today and the waters have melted", Howard said Tuesday. "And it made sense immediately why they were doing it".

Have you ever wondered how alligators survive in the winter?

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