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Alligators Freeze Their Snouts In Place To Survive (Video)

Alligators Freeze Their Snouts In Place To Survive (Video) Promo Image

Alligators in North Carolina have been spotted sticking their snouts up out of an icy swamp (video below).

Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach has shared a video showing how gators survive in the freezing weather, reports the Miami Herald.

The creatures allow themselves to be frozen in place, sticking their snouts above the surface so that only their noses and teeth are exposed.

"Just hanging out in the water," said narrator George Howard of the swamp park in the footage. "Pretty amazing... Look at those teeth. This is the time of year when they are just hanging out, waiting for it to get warm."

"It's a survival mechanism," Howard said, according to ABC. "They'll go wherever it is warmest."

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During early January's "bomb cyclone" that hit the East Coast, the water was warmer than the air, Howard said.

The cold-blooded animals know instinctively when the water will freeze, and stick their noses above the water's surface at the right time to become frozen there. Once frozen, the gators enter a state of stillness similar to hibernation, where they can regulate their body temperature and stay frozen until the ice has melted.

"Just shows you how smart they are, and how amazing it is to see them do this exact survival technique, no matter how horrific it looks to us [humans]," said a commenter on Shalotte River Swamp Park's Facebook post.

According to the park, the gators won't respond even if someone steps on them.

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"They are trying to conserve energy to maintain body temperature," wrote the park.

Howard said the weather had been unusually cold in the area, but the gators' behavior was natural, because "they know they have to breathe."

"They're just doing their thing. Alligators have been around for hundreds of years. They're survival machines."

The gators are reported to have since thawed from the ice.

Other animals have also made headlines with their behavior over the freezing temperatures hitting the U.S. -- in Florida, iguanas have been reported to be falling from trees because they become stunned from the cold.

Green iguanas, also cold-blooded, become immobile in cold temperatures, and can fall from the trees that they usually sit in, according to The Washington Post.

While there were similar reports in 2008 and 2010, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Kristen Sommers said the phenomenon is uncommon.

"The reality is South Florida doesn't get that cold very often or long enough that you see this frequently," Sommers said.

Sommers advised Floridians to avoid touching the frozen iguanas, who are still alive, but stunned. She said that as they warm up, they may become frightened.

"Like any wild animal, it will try to defend itself," Sommers said.

Sources: Miami Herald, ABC, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Julia Koefender/Flickr / Embedded Images: MBarrison/Flickr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region/Flickr

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