Why on Earth? Alligator

Why on Earth is this alligator's snout poking out of the water like this?

CLICK HERE to find out!

ANSWER: To survive the cold!

Alligators, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded, meaning their body temperature is controlled by their environment rather than their body. Because of this, reptiles are particularly vulnerable to cold weather! Reptiles tend to live in warm climates, but when temperatures do drop too low for alligators (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit), they enter into a state called brumation.

Brumation is like the reptilian version of hibernation! Instead of entering into a deep sleep like mammals do, reptiles like alligators will simply become very lazy, or lethargic. Their metabolism slows way down, they stop eating, and will just hang out in order to conserve heat and energy.

If it’s cold enough for their lake or pond to freeze over, like in this picture taken in North Carolina, the alligator will brumate under the ice, making sure to keep its snout poking out so that it can continue to breathe! When it warms up enough, the alligator will emerge from the water (and from brumation) to bask in the sun and warm up.

 

Want to learn about more cold weather animal adaptations? 

Join us for Family Winter Walk on Saturday, December 15th!