North Carolina alligators frozen in swamp waters are 'survival machines'

A video of the rescued alligators at The Swamp Park in North Carolina has been viewed more than 47,000 times.
Image: Frozen alligators North Carolina
American alligators go into brumation, a form of hibernation for cold-blooded reptiles, after their enclosure's pond froze over in The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.George Howard/The Swamp Park

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By Doha Madani

Alligators at a North Carolina outdoor-recreation park displayed their incredible survival skills in viral video showing the reptiles in frozen waters.

The Swamp Park's general manager, George Howard, found the rescue gators in their enclosures Monday morning with their noses frozen above water after temperatures in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, fell below freezing.

A video Howard posted of the gators to Facebook has gotten more than 47,000 views.

"It’s one thing to have photos and videos, and that’s all well in good, but it’s the story behind them that’s important," Howard told NBC News.

The Swamp Park is home to about 18 American alligators who have been rescued from places that tried to keep them in captivity illegally. Living at the Swamp Park saves the gators from being euthanized because the domesticated reptiles can't be released back into the wild.

One of the gators in the video is an 11-foot male that was rescued earlier this year.

A group of rescued American alligators showcase their survival techniques when cold temperatures froze the water in their enclosure at an outdoor recreation park in North Carolina.George Howard/The Swamp Park

Howard said that many people don't know alligators are "one of the only species on the planet that are virtually unchanged since dinosaurs."

When the temperature began to dip, the gators stuck their noses above the water to prevent being completely submerged in their enclosure's frozen pond, Howard said. Then their bodies went into brumation, the cold-blooded reptile's version of hibernation.

"So when their noses are sticking out of the ice like this ... for the few days that this might happen they are fine," Howard said. "Survival machines."