Firemen are often depicted saving cats from trees, or even courageously pulling animals out of burning buildings. Turns out they also help animals in other ways, by making their play time more enjoyable.
The Duluth Fire Department in Minnesota recently shared how it’s making use of decommissioned fire hoses: Repurposing them as enrichment toys for zoo animals! In a Facebook post, the department explained that hoses are often decommissioned due to issues like holes, reaching the end of their life expectancy, or failing an annual pressure test. If it’s no longer usable, they’ve got to get rid of it.
Rather than just tossing their hoses and seeing them end up in a landfill, though, they’ve made a bunch of fun items for animals at Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. So far, they say, that includes small cubes, cube sausages, hanging hides, hammocks, and small and large beds.
These items give the animals some comfort and allow them a bit more excitement and intellectual stimulation than they’d normally get in their enclosures.
The post reads, “In total, we have created approximately 15-16 enrichment toys for the animals at the Lake Superior Zoo.
“The animals are able to manipulate these toys, search for and use their natural instincts to find food. Things that they would do in the wild but are not able to do at the zoo. They use the toys to sleep on (in the case of the hammocks), forage for food, or find a place to hide (in the case of the hanging hides).”
They shared some photos along with the information. Those include a bear checking out one of the recent hose-y additions. Its paw and nose are aiding in the investigation. There’s also a group of goats swarming the fence to see what their new present is.
The fire department encourages anyone in the area to try to spot the toys the next time they stop by Lake Superior Zoo.