Alligators in Oklahoma freeze from severe cold snaps.


Alligators in Oklahoma are turning into popsicles, and locals are worried about the species.

The inhabitants of Oklahoma in the United States have found themselves face to face with wholly frozen alligators. The reptiles had their snouts sticking out of the icy water when the cold front hit the state this week.

Everyone is asking why these alligators were diving in such cold weather and not sunbathing on the shore or in some hiding place.

The truth is, many were surprised to find out that Oklahoma had alligators. Whether these alligators were native to the state of Mississippi or an introduced species sparked discussion on Facebook in response to this news.

Image: David Arbor/US Forest Service.

According to a journal from 1866, they appear to be native, although other alligators have been introduced to the wetlands in the state’s southeastern part since then. This said Jena Donnell, Wildlife Diversity Communication Specialist at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Returning to his strange behavior, Donnell stated that this was completely normal.

“Whenever it freezes, this is a natural response [seen in alligators],” he said. They had to make a “snorkel” by sticking their noses above the water because the water they were in had frozen so they could breathe..”

Alligators, like all reptiles, are cold-blooded or ectothermic. Consequently, their internal body temperature is influenced by the ambient temperature. For this reason we usually find alligators basking in the sun or hiding on the shores of lakes and rivers.

Image: David Arbor/US Forest Service.

When freezing temperatures hit their habitats, crocodiles prefer to be in the water, as the air on shore can be colder than the water itself. Rather than hide somewhere, alligators prefer to swim to the surface and dive, making sure they have enough oxygen.

“If the water is cold but not quite frozen, alligators may routinely swim into deeper water., which is warmer than the shallows,” Donnell said.

Unfortunately, Not all of the alligators in the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area, a 2,300-hectare refuge in southeastern Oklahoma, survived the cold spell.

The majority of people were able to endure the cold weather situation. “ A large majority of individuals were able to endure the cold weather event, he said. It is always fascinating how animals adapt and how they can search for different survival techniques .”

Image: David Arbor/US Forest Service.

Icy temperatures and conditions are typical in the state’s southeast. McCurtain County, where Red Slough is located, experiences approximately 60 days yearly with temperatures below zero degrees Celsius.

Snorkeling alligators aren’t unique to Oklahoma, either. They have also been seen in North Carolina in 2018 and 2019.

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