If you’re on the eastern side of the United States, you probably heard about the “bomb cyclone” that happened last week. Things got so cold that the Shallotte River Swamp Park in North Carolina posted a video of frozen alligators that got people talking. Probably because it’s rare to see something that’s both intriguing yet terrifying.
But have no fear — the alligators in question are okay. In fact, Shallotte River Swamp Park ended up documented a pretty standard practice for alligators that assures their survival in frosty temperatures. After someone asked on Facebook whether or not they were actually frozen, the swamp responded that “their bodies are suspended in the water and noses out for breathing. They are brumating, kind of like hibernating.” They also noted that in doing this, alligators regulate their body temperature. By keeping the tips of their nose out and having the water freeze over them, they’re making sure they’re still able to breathe. The move is just another instinctual way of staying alive, proving that alligators are incredibly smart creatures.
The park, according to The Dodo, houses 12 rescued alligators. After manager George Howard decided to post some of the cool footage of the animals online, the frozen alligators quickly went viral — and people had a lot of questions.
Here’s the first video, originally posted on January 5th.
Howard noted that he had “absolutely no idea myself” that the alligators would do this, but made sure to note that it was “pretty impressive.” After that video gained a little traction, they decided to do a follow-up two days later.
That video shows the alligators up close. Howard said they all “seem to be doing fairly well,” mentioning that since they’re captive alligators, they can’t go back in the wild. He caught a few of them who were close to breaking through the ice.
But in case you were skeptical, this update of the thawed out alligators will make you feel a lot better. Howard’s third video shows the previously frozen alligators happily sunbathing.
So, if you happen to catch a frozen alligator at some point during the winter season, have no fear — they’re probably doing just fine.