Disturbing truth behind strange photos of frozen waterways

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·3-min read

Astonishing photos have emerged showing how alligators are managing to survive bone-chilling temperatures sweeping the Midwest region of the US.

The unprecedented winter weather has seen at least 47 people killed and millions without power as the deep freeze creates huge challenges for a number of unprepared states.

Gabe Hargrove posted a series of pictures on Facebook from the US state of Arkansas, highlighting the plight of wildlife amid the extremely low temperatures.

Pictures of a waterway show alligators trapped under a frozen layer, peaking their nose out of the ice for survival.

"In the winter alligators don't truly hibernate, but enter periods of low activity," the woman wrote on Facebook alongside the images.

"On sunny days they will come out, bask and warm up. When it freezes like this, they raise their noses out of the water so that they can continue to breathe.

"They are still alive."

Source: Facebook/Gabe Hargrove
Alligators can die if they leave frozen waterways. Source: Facebook/Gabe Hargrove

However the woman warned there could be tragic consequences if the deep freeze continues to grip the midwest.

"If the freeze lasts too long it can lower survival and we could see alligators dying," she said.

Alligators can live in freezing water

According to the Shallotte River Swamp Park, alligators rely on the sun to increase their body temperature.

It added they can live in water as cold as 4 degrees but they go into a state of brumation when temperatures drop even lower.

"This is where a reptile's metabolism slows down dramatically and will go into a lethargic state," the swamp park said on its blog.

"Often during this time, an alligator will stay at the bottom of a body of water.

Source: Facebook/Gabe Hargrove
An alligator snorkels out of a frozen waterway to breathe. Source: Facebook/Gabe Hargrove

"If they need to breathe, then they'll slowly surface and peak their nostrils out the top of the water."

Retired associate scientist of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida told Live Science it was an opposite response to what you would normally expect from the reptile.

"The normal response of most other crocs when it gets really cold is to come out of the water and try to bask to get warm again," he said.

However with the air often colder than the actual water itself, Mr Ross said the alligator would be more at risk of freezing to death.

Source: Facebook/Gabe Hargrove
An alligator pokes its note out of a frozen waterway in Arkansas. Source: Facebook/Gabe Hargrove

US in grips of deadly winder storm

US states including Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas are in the grips of the deadly winter storm.

Some areas in Oklahoma reported temperatures as low as -25 degrees and millions of people have been warned of frostbite.

Many are also reporting frozen and exploding pipes.

The worst hit by energy outages so far has been Texas, where 2.7 million homes and businesses remained without power on Wednesday night (local time).

Texas officials warned of “disasters within the disaster” of historic cold weather on Wednesday night (local time), telling residents to prepare for energy to not return until the weekend.

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