Astounding Images Show Alligators Frozen In Pond — And Yes, They’re Alive!

Frozen alligators in a North Carolina swamp go into a state of dormancy to withstand freezing temperatures and frozen ponds.

They say that alligators survived the ice age, and that may be true. Although they cannot withstand extreme cold temperatures. They likely did not reside in the most northern climates but could have survived in the southern regions. Alligators don’t hibernate as many mammals do but can go into a period of dormancy known as a modified form of brumation. Such was the case in North Carolina recently when a park ranger noticed a frozen alligator.


Gator snoot sticking out the ice. Do not boop the snoot.
Image from Facebook.

Lovingly called “gatorcicles,” the frozen alligators appeared when temperatures dropped down into the teens. The swamps where the rescued critters reside are not very deep, so they are subject to freezing when outside temperatures drop and remain low. The Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, posted a video chronicling the event.

The park is open year-round and hosts family activities, including zip lines and guided ATV and swamp boat tours. You can enjoy the live Gator cam on YouTube. In addition to hosting family activities, the park is also an alligator sanctuary.

Frozen Alligator in a North Carolina swamp.
Image from Facebook.

While many people are aware of what hibernation is, most have never heard of the reptile version. Thought of as an extreme type of brumation, alligators have the ability to go dormant during freezing temperatures. When their habitat freezes, they will extend their snout above the surface to allow for breathing. The water freezes around their nose, and they will remain in place until the next thaw. On warmer days, they will wake enough to drink water and shift slightly while basking in the sun.

When passing by one of these dormant gators, visitors will likely only see teeth. Huge gator teeth just hovering in a frozen gator-grimace. “Their pond that they live in has frozen,” said park manager George Howard in a Facebook post. He added, “Thick enough for these guys to do what they do, which is stick their nose up out of the ice so that they can breathe, and suspend themselves in the water.”

Due to the warmer climate in NC, the gators won’t stay frozen for more than a few days at a time. The ability to go into dormancy is part of their survival. Although it might be tempting, we do not recommend attempting to boop the snoot of a frozen alligator. Please share this if you enjoyed learning about the frozen alligators.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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