Frigid winter temperatures have created an unusual sighting at a swamp in North Carolina: Alligators frozen in the water with their noses above ice.
The Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., posted a video on Facebook showing the gators’ behavior.
“Eighteen American alligators are thinking ahead as they poke their noses up through the ice,” said a narrator during the video, which has since garnered more than 44,000 views.
According to the swamp park, the alligators are entering brumation, a process similar to hibernation where the animals’ metabolism slows down and they enter a lethargic state. Brumation kicks in when the water is too cold for them to remain active, said the park.
During brumation, the gators will pop their nostrils up out of the water to catch a breath while the rest of their body stays in the water.
The alligators also don’t eat during this period, or they get very sick, the park said.
Park manager George Howard told The Charlotte Observer alligators seem to sense when the water is about to reach freezing temperatures and pop their nostrils out at the right time.
Howard said alligators that froze in place last year thawed out after a few days with no injuries, according to The Observer.
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