February 25, 2024

Crocodiles freeze – this is how they live

Video: Watson/Lucas Zollinger

In the southeastern United States, where American alligators are found, winter has begun and the water has frozen. And with them animals. But this is not a big problem for the reptiles, as videos on social media show:

Video: Watson/Lucas Zollinger

Videos from “Swamp Park” in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, and “Gator Country” in Beaumont, Texas, show how the alligators are stuck motionless – apparently dead – in the freezing water. In fact, they are still alive.

Reptiles called “hibernation”

Crocodiles are reptiles and therefore – unlike mammals and humans – cold-blooded animals. Their body temperature depends on the outside temperature, and to warm up they sunbathe or move their muscles. They have to save energy in the long-lasting cold of winter. Crocodiles enter what is known as reptile hibernation, during which their heart beats only about three times per minute. Usually during this stage they are in a small cave or hole out of the water, often near the shore. As current videos from the USA show, some animals can also be frozen. They make sure they can continue breathing, and to do this they break their noses through the layer of ice. The rest of their bodies remain rigid and motionless, even their eyes are closed. (LZO)

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