The Best Pets For Apartments LowMaintenance Companionship For Close Quarters

Dated: October 13 2016

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It’s a sad fact of apartment life that not all landlords love tenants with pets. However, even if your dwelling doesn’t allow cats, dogs, or capybaras, that doesn’t mean that you (or your kids) are doomed to a pet-less existence.

It turns out plenty of animals are well-suited to living in close quarters whether it’s based on their size, limited upkeep, or otherwise, according to Rena Lafaille, the administrative manager of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Adoption Center.

So if you’re looking for more out-of-the-box ideas, check out this list revealing the best pets for apartments.


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Do you love the idea of a cheerful songbird in your very own apartment? Look no further than the original tweeter, the parakeet. Around 8 inches long, these independent—and adorable—birds can be taught to whistle tunes and talk, but they won’t squawk so loud as to annoy your neighbors like their larger feathered friends.

They also don’t need much space: While larger parrots need four-plus hours of playtime outside of their cage every day, parakeets can fly easily within a cage 3 feet wide and tall and just 2 feet deep.

They don’t need a ton of stuff either (a few toys and activities are fine), making their upkeep relatively inexpensive to boot. Sure, that prattling on can be a bit annoying. But you probably won’t mind.

Betta fish

The easily managed betta fish (aka Siamese fighting fish) doesn’t require a complicated tank setup, making it another wise choice for renters. These brilliantly hued beauties’ bowls simply need clean, warm water (forget the aquarium filters or heaters). The bowl doesn’t even have to be huge, because the fish’s average length is just a couple of inches.


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Night owls, meet your match. The sweet, spiky African pygmy hedgehogs come alive at night. But their best attribute, as far as apartment living, is how low-maintenance they are. These palm-size cutie patooties need merely a cage, wheel, wood chips, water bottle, and cat food (or minced beef, chicken, or turkey). Owners’ only added responsibility is to give them about a half-hour of human touch, and a bath now and then.

But you’ll have to brace yourself for disappointment if you live in Maine, California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania: The critters are considered wild animals in each of those states, and it is illegal to keep them as pets in your home.


These slithery creatures may seem a little creepy (OK, a lot creepy), but they also have cool factor to spare. They have a long life span and can be left alone for long stretches without you, dear owner, having to worry about their getting lonely (because they won’t).

The best beginner pet snakes, according to Reptiles Magazine, include the corn snake, California kingsnake, rosy boa, gopher snake, and ball python. Just prepare to feed them their favorite on the menu: frozen mice and rats that have been thawed!


Happy to hang out on their own, in a solid-bottom wire cage or in an aquarium, hamsters are not only adorable, they also love to interact with people. The rodents keep busy, too, tunneling in shredded paper or tissue bedding and exercising on their wheels at night. Hamsters’ food is low-maintenance as well: pellets, water, cheese, and the occasional piece of fresh fruit or veggies. And unlike noisy guinea pigs, which communicate in clicks and whines, hamsters are silent sorts unlikely to irritate anyone within earshot.


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If the best roommate is a quiet one, then geckos are the best darn roomies ever! Naturally shy, these lizards chill out happily in heated terrariums and sleep all day. At night they eat (worms and crickets, yum!), poke around, and hide under the rocks or wood placed in their terrarium as a playground. Thankfully, geckos are not as chatty or irritating as the insurance reps they play on TV.


Hop to it and get a rabbit if you want a very cute pet that can be trained to, wait for it, use a litter box! That’s right: Rabbits can learn to handle their business like cats do—as well as exercise outdoors with a collar and leash.

The bonus for working families: Rabbits are most active in the early mornings and evenings, similar to the rush hours at home. A quiet pet, rabbits are nevertheless social critters. They love a good cuddle, just watch out for their teeth. A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing throughout the pet’s lifetime (rabbits constantly chew things like wires and houseplants)!


Jennifer O'Neill



Lee Ingram/iStock



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