Newton named animal curator at Sarasota Jungle Gardens


SARASOTA, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2012) – With 33 years experience in exotic animal care, Sarasota Jungle Gardens’ animal expert Steve Newton has been promoted to curator. Fully licensed by Florida Fish and Wildlife, Newton holds Class 1, 2 and 3 licenses to exhibit animals as well as the venomous license to exhibit venomous reptiles. He now leads the Sarasota Jungle Gardens animal team in a comprehensive program dedicated to the highest standards of care and feeding.

A North Carolina native, this is Newton’s second tenure at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. In the mid-70s, he was curator of reptiles and birds. During that time he appeared weekly on a local television show representing the Gardens. He also gave presentations to various organizations including the Audubon Society and the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

As an expert in venomous reptiles, Newton was on call for snakebite treatments at Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he also taught snakebite first aid to EMT classes.

Upon his return to Sarasota Jungle Gardens more than a year and a half ago, Newton was appointed animal department administrator where he served until his recent promotion. He replaces sisters Linda and Ellian Rosaire who recently left the Gardens due to scheduling issues.

Much of Newton’s career has focused on some of the deadliest reptiles in the world, including rattlesnakes and King Cobras. He has also given animal presentations from VA to FL with birds of prey, monkeys and more. When he was not making special appearances, Newton was busy collecting various reptiles throughout the western U.S.

“We are so pleased that Steve returned to Sarasota Jungle Gardens,” said Chris Lavick, COO. “He has a real connection with the animals, both caring for and communicating with them. We’re also excited that he has coordinated a completely new Jungle Bird Show for the 2012 season, with many new surprises in store.”

For more information on opening hours, educational shows and Steve Newton call (941) 355-1112, x 313 or visit