Alligators stick their noses out above frozen water during hibernation

Alligators and their cousins have been around for nearly 200 million years and recent footage of their amazing survival skills suggests they may be on Earth for 200 million more.

As temperatures plunged across the country late last week, gators in the upper reaches of their range faced the question of what to do when floating is your forte but your swampy digs are about to freeze.

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WASHINGTON DC-DECEMBER 28 Tourists visit the National Mall near the United States Capitol on a brisk day in Washington, DC on December 28, 2017. (Photo by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - DECEMBER 30: The moon rises behind the skyline of lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City on December 30, 2017, as seen from Jersey, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
A man walks with a little girl as the snow falls in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A woman takes a selfie as the snow falls in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Horses pull carriages through Central Park as the snow falls during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A couple looks at the snow in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A woman makes her way carrying grocery bags during a snowstorm in New York on December 9, 2017. Forecasters issued a rare winter weather warning for the southern United States, with snow hitting places that rarely see it. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Children make a snowman in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A delivery person rides his bike as the snow falls in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A child rides in a sled in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A woman reacts to the snow in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A horse pulls a carriage through Central Park as the snow falls during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Children play in the snow in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A man teaches his daughter to ski in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A man is hit by a snowball in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Children play in the snow in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A bird is seen in a snow covered tree in Central Park during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A man takes a photo in Central Park as the snow falls during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A horse pulls a carriage through Central Park as the snow falls during a pre-winter storm in New York City, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 28: Esther Weis takes a bundled up Travis off his leash as they arrive home on Still Street in the Brookline neighborhood of Boston, Dec. 28, 2017. (Photo by Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A woman walks down 50th Street bundled against the cold on December 28, 2017 in New York, as a bitter Arctic chill settled across much of the United States and Canada. In the US the National Weather Service said that 'dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills' were pummelling much of the central and eastern part of the country, with the forecast that one third of the country would experience temperatures hovering around minus 18 C on New Years Day. / AFP PHOTO / Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: A pedestrian crosses the street on December 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Frigid temperatures will be dipping into the single digits in the midwest over the next few days as Chicago faces one of the coldest holidays in a decade. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: A jogger runs along the lakefront despite single-digit temperatures on December 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Frigid temperatures will be dipping into the single digits in the Midwest over the next few days as Chicago faces one of the coldest holidays in a decade. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 27: A pedestrian crosses the street on December 27, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Frigid temperatures will be dipping into the single digits in the Midwest over the next few days.(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)
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The folks at the Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., shared the answer in footage posted last week of an alligator poking just its snout above the ice, ensuring it could breathe until the thaw.

According to a park blog post, the gators, like other cold-blooded reptiles, go into a lethargic state similar to hibernation called brumation when the mercury dips. 

Park manager George Howard said the gators seem to instinctively know when the water is about to freeze, at which point they stick their snouts above the water and wait patiently for the thaw.

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