Donations of Animals

Thank you for your interest in the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and thank you for your kind offer of an animal for the Zoo’s collection.

The Zoo receives many similar offers but due to limited space, staffing, and funding, we are unable to accommodate such requests. The Zoo receives more than 500 donation offers each year of exotic pets such as green iguanas, parrots, boa constrictors, ball pythons, sugar gliders, etc. These numbers are staggering and continue unabated year after year.  Many folks do not realize or were not truly prepared for the long term personal and financial commitment required to maintain exotic animals as pets.

    There are many resources and options available for you and your animal:
  • Contact other institutions. Some museums and nature centers have living collections and may need animals for education programs for displays.  While they may sometimes be able to accept an animal, they are more often than not in a similar situation to our own where donation offers far outstrip capacity.
  • Ask friends and neighbors for assistance.  Many folks have an interest in animals, or may know someone with an interest. Please remember to make potential new owners totally aware of the commitment required for exotic pet ownership.
  • Contact local interest groups. The Jacksonville Herpetological Society and similar organizations offer adoption services that try to place unwanted animals in good homes.
  • Renew your commitment and keep your animal to prevent the possibility that it will be passed around from owner to owner in the coming years.  There are many good resources, like the local interest groups, that can provide sound information to make caring for exotic animals easier.
  • Do not release an exotic or non-native animal into the wild. It is illegal and inhumane.  Most captive animals are naïve and poorly equipped to survive in the wild.  They may be killed by predators, get run over by a car, or freeze to death during the winter. Alternately, if by chance they do survive, invasive exotic species are a serious threat to our native wildlife.

We hope this information has been helpful and wish the best for you and your animal.  If none of these options turn out to be viable, please feel free to contact us for some additional ideas.