Fire Hose Hammock Construction  (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

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Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Mammal Husbandry and Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords --
Description A hammock made from cloth-covered fire hose, which is sufficiently durable to withstand the sharp claws of bears for some time.

To make a 5 ft (1.52 m) diameter hammock:

  • Place 15 strips of hose, each 80 inches (203 cm) long, side by side (no spaces between strips).
  • Weave a further 15 strips of hose in and out of these at right-angles to the original strips of hose. 
    • As each strip is woven in, push it up as close as possible to the previous strip.
    • Alternate each strip so that if one goes under the first of the original strips, the next goes on top, etc.
    • Leave about 10 inches (25 cm) of each strip of hose unwoven on each side.
  • Connect the edges around a rope:
    • Using a strong rope of e.g. 15 ft (4.6 m) long (the exact length will depend on where the hammock will be positioned), fold each hose end over the rope and fasten back to itself with two 1.5 inch bolts per hose end, placing a washer on each side - under the bolt head and under the nut. 
      •  Pop rivets could be used but bears are more likely to pry the hose loose over the rivets.
  • Using the ropes, attach the hammocks to suitable sites in the enclosure, such as slung between parts of a climbing structure.


Appropriate Use (?)
  • For all climbing bears.
  • May be very popular with bears.
  • Fire hose is heavy.
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Materials must be sufficiently strong to take the weight of the bears.
  • If fasteners are not chosen carefully the bears may pull them through the hose, unpicking the construction. (N19.6.w1)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Lengths of fire hose, 10 cm (four inches) diameter. (N19.6.w1)

    • Worn sections and off-cuts of hose may be donated by a local fire brigade. (N19.6.w1)

    • For one hammock of about 5 ft square, 30 sections of hose, each about 80 inches long, are required. (N19.6.w1)

Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • Simple to construct.
Cost/ Availability
  • Cost will depend on whether materials are donated (old fire hose/cut-offs) or need to be purchased.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
  • To minimise the risk of injury to the bears, materials used must be sufficiently strong to take the weight of the bears and construction methods should aim to prevent bears from dismantling the structure (e.g. use of bolts, nuts and washers, rather than pop-rivets).
Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee --
References N19.6.w1

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