Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Video Shows The Creepy Method Alligators Use To Survive A Frozen Pond

As we've all noticed, it's been a little bit chilly outside recently. Especially across the Atlantic, where even usually sunny and hot places like Florida are seeing cold fronts sweeping through. If you're human, you probably have the luxury of staying inside where it's warm and turning on the heating so that you 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:

Featuring alligators at the Shallotte River Swamp Park, in North Carolina, the video shows how the creatures - who are, of course, cold-blooded - 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.
Shallotte River Swamp Park
Shallotte River Swamp Park
"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 says 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 says 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.
Shallotte River Swamp Park
Shallotte River Swamp Park
The video has prompted lots of questions on the park's Facebook, and as a result we now know that if someone steps on a frozen alligator your legs will likely stay intact.
"They will not respond," the park wrote on Facebook. "They are trying to conserve energy to maintain body temperature."
If you want to try, be out guest. We think we'll just stand back and watch though.
Featured Image Credit: Shallotte River Swamp Park

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