Old fire hoses make hammocks for snow leopards and lemurs at Northumberland Zoo

Arthur, a ring-tailed lemur, enjoying a hammock made from old fire hose. Credit: Northumberland Zoo

Zoo animals have been having fun with old fire fighting equipment donated to improve their enclosures.

Lengths of old hoses and rope rescue lines were given to Northumberland Zoo to make items like hammocks and platform toppers for snow leopards, lemurs, goats, raccoons and arctic foxes.

The rope is also useful for the creative hanging to hay nets and toys for the goats and horses.

The zoo at Felton, in Morpeth, approached Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) to ask if they had any old and unwanted durable materials to enhance their animal enclosures.

Karli and Nieva, the snow leopards at Northumberland Zoo, have been making use of the old firefighting equipment in their enclosure. Credit: Northumberland Zoo

In response, the team in Gateshead donated 300 metres of hose pipe and 200 metres of rope, which was no longer usable and would have been sent to landfill.

Anthony Hall, operational workshop team leader at TWFRS, said: “The creative ways that the rope and perforated fire hoses have been repurposed is amazing, and for the animals to use them on a daily basis as part of their habitat is very rewarding to know."

Maxine Bradley, Northumberland Zoo manager, said: “Sustainability and recycling are at the core of everything we do here at the zoo.

Dougal, an arctic fox, is known for demolishing most equipment - but finds it tough to get through old fire hose. Credit: Northumberland Zoo

“The opportunity to give used firehose a second life for animal enrichment and exhibitdesign aligns perfectly with our environmental ethos and high husbandry standards.”

She added: “The toughness is great for larger carnivore species and safe for them to use, so the zoo keepers don't need to worry about the animals shredding it easily.

“For example, Hamish and Dougal, the arctic foxes, are particularly difficult to enrich as they eat everything given them. They cannot seem to break through the firehose, which is great news for the zoo.”

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