Over the years, the Gardens’ mammal population has grown to include deer, prairie dogs, and lemurs, many of them donations or rescue animals.
Nearly 95% of the animals at Sarasota Jungle Gardens have been rescued by state and federal organizations from abusive homes or places with inhumane conditions. Many were sick or injured and some simply out-grew or out-lived their owners. Within our sanctuary, these animals will likely remain here for the rest of their lives.
Jungle Gardens has designed some of their exhibits, shows and off-site presentations in order to help educate the public on exotic pet ownership. In Florida, exotic pet ownership has become rampant due to our sub-tropical weather and leniency toward the importation of various species of reptiles, insects, birds and mammals. Despite the fact that it is illegal to do so, many irresponsible pet owners release these exotics into the Everglades, local lakes and ponds, as well as populated neighborhoods. Most of the animals have not only survived but have actually thrived, reproducing in numbers that are literally taking over some areas of the State.
Jungle Gardens receives hundreds of phone calls each year from exotic pet owners offering to donate their beloved exotic pets to us. What most do not realize is that the “free” pet that has been offered, is not without cost to Sarasota Jungle Gardens as most exotics need some sort of medical attention, must be quarantined for up to six weeks, must be inoculated for various diseases and put on special diets. This, plus the cost of the special habitats, ongoing food, and daily care required, can become quite expensive.
The Gardens is not a large facility so we cannot accommodate all of the animals that are offered to us, but we can give the gift of education to those who are considering purchasing or adopting an exotic pet.