Plunging temperatures in North Carolina aren't enough to drive away the state's alligators. As WSOCTV reports, the cold-blooded predators can be spotted poking the their nostrils above the frozen water in The Swamp Park—a behavior that experts say allows them to endure the winter.
The wetland froze Monday evening when a cold blast hit the eastern part of the state. Instead of fleeing the pond, the swamp's alligators acted quickly by extending their noses above the surface, making it possible for them to breathe even when they can't move.
Though American alligators prefer warm climates, they can survive cold weather by going into brumation, a hibernation-like state used by reptiles. When alligators brumate, they are dormant and their heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature drop significantly. When temperatures warm up and the ice thaws, they awaken and start moving again.
In hotter states like Florida and Louisiana, alligators rarely have to use this survival tactic, but in North Carolina's Swamp Park, seeing it has become an annual tradition. This year, at least 18 of them were recorded with their snouts frozen in the swamp. You can see them in the video below.