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No, alligators aren't frozen. They're just brumating

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Lately it's been freezing in places that don't normally freeze.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE HOWARD: It's probably about 22 degrees out right now.

SHAPIRO: Including The Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., home to several rescue alligators. This is a video shot by general manager George Howard.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

The pond where the alligators live froze. And the alligators? Well, they did too, kind of.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HOWARD: They are in full brumation right now.

SHAPIRO: Brumation - think of it like hibernating but for reptiles.

SUMMERS: And in the video, you can see the alligators suspended in the frozen pond with everything under ice except the tip of their snouts.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HOWARD: You can see just the nostrils.

SUMMERS: So they can breathe.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HOWARD: A really fantastic way for them to be able to survive.

SHAPIRO: And it didn't just happen in North Carolina. Eddie Hanhart shot a video of the same phenomenon at Gator Country Adventure Park in Beaumont, Texas, last week - alligators seemingly stuck in ice.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

EDDIE HANHART: He is not dead. He is fully alive. He has his heart rate down to three beats per minute right now.

SUMMERS: Three beats per minute - but don't worry, it's just temporary.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HANHART: And whenever it gets to that ice will thaw out, he'll get up on the bank, start soaking in all those nice hot sun rays and be able to warm up.

SHAPIRO: The Swamp Park in North Carolina posted a photo just yesterday of their alligators fully thawed out and out of brumation.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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