It is always interesting to see the changing environment as the seasons progress across the United States. Certain animals migrate to warmer areas when the temperature begins to drop, others opt for a deep sleep and hibernate the winter away. A report by the Miami Herald presented most of the information used in this article.

There weren't many places to go in the last few weeks as just about the entire nation was covered in snow and ice. Cities and states that almost never see snow were reporting record low temperatures.

It's getting cold

In North Carolina, the recent cold snap led to many lakes and rivers freezing.

What some residents found on the frozen waters was truly shocking!

At first glance, it appears that the people had stumbled upon a poor alligator who had frozen to death in the icy water. However, it turns out that Alligators, being cold-blooded animals, have no need to worry. The ancient creatures have long been known to be able to adapt to any situation. This is no different, as they actually purposely freeze their noses above the water.

From there, they enter a deep sleep to ride out the cold weather and wake up when it is warmer to their liking again. The whole process is called "brumation."

What is "brumation?"

A form of hibernating, alligators enter what is called brumation. This unique adaptation is believed to be done only by alligators.

It is another fascinating reason why these creatures have survived for millions of years.

Alligators have an internal ability to sense that the waters they are in are about to freeze. As the water does begin to freeze, the alligator raises it's nose just above the water and allows the ice to form around it. This essentially freezes the alligator in place, but that is exactly the goal.

This ultimately allows the gator to breathe while hibernating until the ice melts.

This sort of suspended state sounds horrific to a person, but it is just another technique developed over time that allows alligators to survive in areas where other species would die out and go extinct. Their ability to regulate their body temperature allows them to control the situation, no matter the environment.

Although this does look like it could also be an elegant trap for unsuspecting prey, it is highly unlikely that the alligator would react to something touching it's frozen nose. They need to conserve as much energy as possible, so it would take a lot to disturb them from their slumber. Either way, it's a safe bet that you absolutely shouldn't go poke the gator!