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15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

While a large animal such as a dog or cat may not be the best option for those that live in apartments, there are many types of small exotic animals that can potentially make great small space pets. Today, our Nashville vets share 15 of the best small exotic pet options that are the perfect size for living in smaller apartments.

Most people love having an animal companion to share their home with. But, sometimes traditional pets such as cats and dogs might not be suitable for a person's lifestyle, especially if you live in an apartment, whether it's for reasons such as not having access to a yard, the size of the unit, allergies, noise restrictions, or personal preference.

While some of the animals below are fascinating and great pets to have, you need to do your research on the requirements for these pets and find out if you need a permit to own one in your state.

Here are 15 small exotic pets that might be perfect for apartment living.

1. Rabbits

Did you know there are approximately 50 breeds of rabbits that people can adopt? They are small and quiet exotic mammals that love to be cuddled, and keep their owners' company. They are also litter trained, so they don't need outdoor access. You can even provide your rabbit with exercise by letting them wander free around your home.

However, rabbits love to dig and chew, so make sure your apartment is bunny-proof and ensure they can't access any electrical cords.  

2. Ferrets

Ferrets are very playful, quiet pets that will spend most of their day sleeping while you are gone. They also require a large cage, so they have enough space to play in.

You also need to be careful of their mischievous nature. Ensure your home is ferret-proof by making sure they can't escape and by blocking off potential hazardous hiding spots, such as the oven. You may require a permit to own one in your state.

3. Mice

One of the reasons why mice can make great apartment pets is that they don't require a large cage or a lot of space. They are also quiet and fairly easy to take care of, they can even groom themselves! You can have fun watching these little pets perform their playful antics.

Mice can be timid creatures that frighten easily but can do well with consistent handling. 

4. Rats

These little critters are intelligent, friendly, and quiet! They could be great pets for apartment owners because they are small and can be tamed fairly easily. They also tend to enjoy sitting on their owner's lap or shoulders. Their cage only needs to be approximately 2 cubic feet per rat.

Because they spend most of their time sleeping during the day, they are most active at night. But if you want to spend time with this little pet, all you need to do is wake them.

5. Hamsters

Hamsters generally make good apartment pets because they don't need a lot of space. They are quiet, don't shed, and are relatively clean. People with allergies can typically be comfortable if they have a hamster in their home. They can also be tamed relatively easily if you handle them regularly.

Cage wise they require 2 cubic feet of space as well as a hamster wheel, a place to hide, absorbent bedding, and food and water. 

6. Guinea Pigs

This pet thrives on socialization and is generally easy to handle. While they do make a "wheek" sound it generally isn't loud enough to disturb people in neighboring apartments. They require an enclosure that's at least 7-8 feet, but it doesn't need to be more than a foot high because they don't typically climb.

Guinea pigs can benefit from being given time to roam the house as long as you ensure that all wires and dangerous objects are well out of the way of their teeth and chewing habits.

7. Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pets among lizard owners because of their friendly nature and beautiful spotted pattern. You can also feed them easily with insects that are readily prepared at most pet stores. They also usually enjoy being handled and socializing with their human owners over other lizards.

They can be great for apartment dwellers because they don't generally need a big tank, 10 gallons is typically enough however, they do better in tanks that are 15 to 20 liters. And, while their tank has to be kept at a certain temperature they don't typically need a UVB lamp like other reptiles.

It is common for leopard geckos to carry salmonella so it is important to ensure that you wash your hands after each time you touch your pet.

8. Bearded Dragons

These reptiles have a reputation for being docile and friendly. They are even excellent lizards for beginners because they are easy to keep. While they do require an adequately sized habitat, they don't grow very big and can live comfortably in an apartment. And, yes bearded dragons are legal to own in most states, including new jersey!

However, they can also spread salmonella to owners who don't practice excellent handwashing habits. And, they require some effort when it comes to their feeding, including live insects and prepared fresh vegetables.

9. Ball Pythons

Out of all the pet snakes, ball pythons are considered docile and one of the easiest to own, making them another great reptile for beginners. They are even easy to find and generally not too expensive unless you opt for one of the morph options that can cost thousands.

Feeding ball pythons is considered one of the hardest parts of owning them. Their diet includes live or frozen mice and rats, and sometimes they refuse to eat. Some may also consider their tank requirements a challenge because they need proper humidity as well as a basking and heating area.

10. Hedgehogs

These nocturnal, exotic mammals are quiet and good for people with allergies because they don't produce a lot of dander. They are also generally solitary and gentle in nature. And their cage only needs to be two feet by three feet.

You should do thorough research into owning this type of pet as not all states allow hedgehogs as pets and some may require permits.

11. Frogs

If you have a small apartment and want a pet to display and look at, a frog may be the perfect pet for you. They don't need a lot of space as most frogs only need a 10 or 20-gallon tank and are low maintenance, only needing to be fed a few times a week.

You do need to do your research on the pet frog you want, as there are many types to choose from, such as aquatic frogs, tree frogs, and sedentary frogs. Some male frogs also sing, but it usually isn't loud enough to disturb neighbors.

12. Hermit Crabs

These low-maintenance pets are perfect for apartment living because they make no noise and are hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for people with allergies. Hermit crabs can be interesting to watch as they move between shells, and if your tank is big enough, they can do well with another hermit crab tankmate.

It is recommended that you have a 10 to 20-gallon tank if you plan on keeping hermit crabs as pets.

13. Chinchillas

This small playful pet could be an excellent addition to your apartment as they are clean and fairly odor-free. If you gently handle them from a young age, they can form a close bond with you, and since they are nocturnal, chinchillas will spend most of the day sleeping.

The recommended home size for this little fella is at least two feet.

14. Millipedes

Millipedes are probably the oddest pet choice on this list, but they require minimal space and are relatively easy to take care of. The African giant millipede is the most common type of millipede, which can grow to be as large as 10 inches long. Even though you can't cuddle them, they can still be handled and don't bite! Their feeding requirements include calcium supplements, fresh fruits, and vegetables. 

However, they do need an aquarium with high humidity, which will require heating and lighting elements, thankfully you can purchase these from most pet supply stores.

15. Tarantulas

Do you love spiders? If so, a tarantula could be the perfect pet for you! These quiet pets typically only need to be fed every other day, and their 10 to 20-gallon tank doesn't take up much space. 

But, we don't recommend handling them because they have mildly toxic venom, and their bite can feel like a bee sting. 

If you have a small exotic pet that requires care or have questions about owning exotics pets, please contact our vets at Belle Forest Animal Hospital today.

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