Sea turtles, alligators caught in treacherous freezing waters in North Carolina

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Sea turtles caught in freezing waters in North Carolina
The cold snap felt across North Carolina recently endangered more than 100 sea turtles.

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. -- The bitter cold caused dangerous and deadly conditions for sea turtles off the North Carolina coast.

NC State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology announced it took in 109 cold-stunned sea turtles from Cape Lookout. The center worked to care for the turtles as best they could, but unfortunately only 36 survived.

Those 36 are still being treated and cared for. Once they are able, they'll be transferred to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail. Those centers will then complete the turtles' rehabilitation and release them back into their natural habitat.

SEE ALSO | Frozen alligator still alive after found totally submerged in iced-over pond: VIDEO

Video captured by Eddie Hanhart shows the animal with its snout sticking out from an iced-over pond as it looks frozen in place below the surface.

Alligators freeze with noses poking out of ice in NC swamp

The bitter cold in North Carolina this weekend caused a unique phenomenon at an alligator sanctuary near the beach.

The Swamp Park, which is located more than 100 miles south of Raleigh near Ocean Isle Beach, posted video showing its alligators frozen in their ponds.

The gators are not dead. Instead, they are doing exactly what they've done for millions of years to survive.

Being reptiles, alligators cannot breathe under water. So if they were caught underwater when cold weather caused the top of their aquatic home to freeze, they would drown. To avoid this, they swim to the surface of the water, poke their noses out and let the water freeze around them that way.

Seeing alligators performing this survival task is a rare sight. That's because the American alligator does not live in regions that freeze regularly. North Carolina is the northernmost range of the American alligator.

The Swamp Park, also known as Shallotte River Swamp Park, is a place that offers ziplining, ATV tours, boat tours and more.