Groovy, baby: MN Zoo moose get waterbeds for research

8:50 AM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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APPLE VALLEY, Minn. - All they need now is a black light and a Jimmy Hendricks poster.

The Moose posse at the Minnesota Zoo are chilling with the comfort of new waterbeds, as part of a new research project on the impact of heat stress.

"Moose are traditionally bedded on rubber mats topped with straw in the zoo holding area," said Dr. Nick McCann, Minnesota Zoo conservation biologist and author of the heat
stress study.

"The rubber mats may be insulating the moose - they may not allow heat to be conducted away from their bodies to the ground below. One of the questions we will ask in this study is whether the waterbed will be better than the rubber mat at conducting the heat because water is an excellent conductor of heat."

The beds were donated for the study by Advanced Comfort Technology, Inc., the Wisconsin-based company that manufactures Dual Chamber Cow Waterbeds (DCC

Two of the zoo's five holding area stalls were outfitted with DCC Waterbeds to fit the moose body size. Holding areas are large, individual stalls that moose reside in when they are not
on exhibit. The Minnesota Zoo moose will rotated through the holding area stalls each day, with data collected both from animals on waterbeds and on rubber mats.

The overall objective of the study is to determine how the ambient air temperature, the bedding surface, humidity, solar radiation, and other factors combined signal to the moose
that it is "hot." Researchers are will compare how hot moose are when bedded on the waterbed surface and the rubber mats.

Preliminary results of the study will be ready by this

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