Our three youngest bears Mimi, Virginia, and Gus sleep in the bear house at night. They are usually waiting eagerly by the door at 5pm to come in and get their supper and bed down for the night. They have hay for bedding but we recently have been experimenting with a new sleep system, the bear hammock. Since bears can weigh over 300 pounds and have sharp teeth and claws we can’t use a human hammock. Keeper Kristen recently learned of a bear hammock design that used old fire hoses woven into a platform that could be suspended from sturdy ropes. With the help of Durham’s Fire Chief, Bruce Pagan, who donated some old hoses and the building expertise of Keeper Daniel the first bear hammock is now in place.
After all the hard work was done I set up our time-lapse video system to see just what was going on in the bear hammock. I’m sorry the quality is not very good but the lighting was not very good and our system is not the greatest. The view is looking down at an angle into the stall that contains the hammock. You can see that all three bears play around and in the hammock but Virginia seems to spend most of the night in it. It reminds me of summer camp when the person on the bottom bunk would harass the person on the top bunk! The video compresses about one hour of antics into about one minute of video. The rest of the night Virgnia slept alone in the hammock with another bear (probably Gus) sleeping below.
This video is hosted at YouTube, if you have trouble viewing it you may need to upgrade your Flash software.