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Custom hammocks charm chimps

December 1st, 2015 / By: / Projects

NICO-FAB® polypropylene tarp fabric, designed for flat-bed and dump trucks carrying garbage, gravel, asphalt or grain, also makes a sturdy hammock for chimpanzees at the St. Louis Zoo who want to nap, lounge or groom at treetop level. Photo: Lawrence Fabric and Metal Structures Inc.
NICO-FAB® polypropylene tarp fabric, designed for flat-bed and dump trucks carrying garbage, gravel, asphalt or grain, also makes a sturdy hammock for chimpanzees at the St. Louis Zoo who want to nap, lounge or groom at treetop level. Photo: Lawrence Fabric and Metal Structures Inc.

When your natural setting is Africa, an enclosure in the St. Louis Zoological Garden probably gets a little predictable. So the staff at the St. Louis Zoo considered how to jazz up the chimpanzee exhibit and decided that hammock swings might get the place rocking. Zoo officials went to Lawrence Fabric and Metal Structures Inc., St. Louis, Mo., a company that had completed shade sail projects for the zoo’s polar bear and lion exhibits.

For active chimpanzees, the hammocks/shade sails had to be both comfortable
and durable (chimps can weigh up to 150 pounds). Lawrence Fabric recommended NICO-FAB® Woven from Baycor Fabrics, a division of TenCate Nicolon, Pendergrass, Ga. Originally designed for truck covers, the heavyweight polypropylene mesh tarp fabric is highly UV resistant and water/stain repellent, allows good air flow, and has proven tensile, tear and puncture strength. Each hammock is 15 by 16 feet, with reinforced two-inch webbing sewn along the perimeter.

Lawrence Fabric fastened the fabric to a fire hose and mounted the hose to tree trunks. Zoo visitors enjoy watching the chimps explore their aerial playground—and Lawrence Fabric continues to be the zoo’s “go-to” company for assistance in constructing comfortable and durable ways to display animals doing what comes naturally.

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