Almost everyone on the planet loves cute pets, and who doesn’t have great memories of playing with their family dog as a child? Or maybe it was the neighbors’, your uncle’s, or someone else’s. Pets have become an essential part of many households and are loved all over the world. But, they take a lot of time, energy, and money.
In a busy life, it might not be the right time to get an active dog! Luckily, there are loads of low maintenance pets out there you can still cuddle up with, love – and some can even be trained! Take a read below; maybe you’ll discover the best low maintenance pet for you!
What Does a ‘low maintenance pet’ Imply?
All pets require a different amount of attention, as well as care and maintenance. Low maintenance does not mean “can be left alone” all the time. It does, however, mean that these are easy pets to take care of. Most of the time, they can do with just a few feeds, fresh water, and air, with no need for playtime, training, or walks.
Often low maintenance pets are also an excellent place to start if you’re looking for animals for kids. Just remember that the primary caretaker of the animal should always be a responsible adult.
Why You Should Invest in a pet That is Easy to Keep?
Even the biggest dog- or cat lover can lead a too-busy life for a dog or cat. It could also be that you simply live in a space that doesn’t allow for bigger pets, or there’s just isn’t enough space? The reasons are plentiful, and it is applaudable that you have evaluated your lifestyle and decided you’re not in the right place for a dog or cat.
Instead, these tiny animals mentioned here might be much more suitable for your lifestyle! Low maintenance pets often require less money and time but can handle just as much love and attention as you want to give! That’s why they are some of the most popular animals out there.
Just remember that it still needs a proper living environment, a healthy diet and care – and of course, medical attention when required. Luckily these things are often a lot cheaper than when buying for a dog or a cat.
Top-ranked Low Maintenance Pets
Now, for the really exciting question: What is the best low maintenance pet then? Take a look at our list here!
No. 10: Sea Monkeys
These are small aquatic animals that live in small tanks. They require little to no work and only need to be fed once or twice a week! They probably fall in the category not-so-cuddly, but these small fellas can be endless fun to watch.
Their tank needs cleaning about once a month; as their diet is algae, they almost clean their home themselves! That makes these tiny animals one of the easiest pets to own.
No. 9: Tarantulas
Tarantulas have a much worse reputation than they deserve! These spiders can be really cute pets. They’re much softer than they look. Just remember that they do have a venomous bite, so they’re not meant to be handled regularly. But, they can also be fascinating just to watch and are very easy to keep happy.
The Tarantulas tend to grow from 2 to 10 inches, mostly eat crickets and mealworms, and are quite happy in a tank that, as a rule-of-thumb, should be three times the spider’s leg span. Often a 5-gallon aquarium will be enough. Remember to include branches, soil, and somewhere it can hide.
No. 8: Betta Fish
These small flaky friends might just be the pet for you! Some fish types need quite a lot of work, but if you’re looking for low maintenance fish, go for Betta Fish. They come in loads of different colors and are fascinating to watch.
They (of course) live in aquariums, but Betta Fish will live happily-ever-after in a 5-gallon aquarium. The water quality should be checked weekly and needs to be changed every two weeks. You should also scrub the inside of the tank to remove algae. Feeding only needs to happen once a day – or you can even get a fish feeder to do it for you!
Betta fish are generally healthy, but keep an eye out for symptoms of illness:
- Excessive shedding of the skin
- Inflamed or discolored skin
- Abdominal swelling
No. 7: Snakes
Snakes might not be for everyone, but they can actually be lovely pets to own – and it’s one of the most popular animals to own as well. When buying a snake, it is crucial to first look into what that specific snake-type needs. Some need loads of space, others less so. Good beginner snakes include:
- The Corn snake
- Rosy Boa
- Ball Python
The Corn Snake is the most popular. It tends to grow to about 2 to 5 feet and feeds primarily on frozen mice when in captivity.
These snakes are generally quite docile, but can when threatened, rattle their tails. Be also aware that as all snakes, they’re great escape artists. Even if their 20-gallon tank is perfect for them, they still might frighten your guests if they’re suddenly out in the open.
The tank needs to be the right size and humidity, and heat needs to be maintained.
No. 6: Leopard Geckos
A Leopard Gecko is a perfect low maintenance pet! They usually are quite docile and don’t need a lot of care generally. A 15-gallon tank is enough for these tiny animals, and they mostly eat crickets, wax worms, and mealworms.
They’re generally healthy and rarely need to be seen by a vet, but make sure you have an exotic vet’s number if your spotty friend needs to be seen. Generally, healthy geckos will be alert, with clear and open eyes and clean nostrils, with intact skin.
No. 5: Chinchillas
These are some of the cutest low maintenance pets out there. But, even though they’re adorable, they generally tend to prefer not to be held. So if you’re looking for a cute furry friend to love at a distance, these chunky friends might be perfect for you.
These little ones are social animals, so you should consider always getting two. The cage should be kept indoors as they’re prone to heatstroke in sunny conditions; the cage – for a pair – should be around 1m x 1.5m floor space and 1.3m tall. Chinchillas eat a specific chinchilla-diet that can be bought in most pet stores. Raisins are, however, a favorite treat of most Chinchillas!
No. 4: Hamsters
They are one of the best tiny animals for cuddling! Most of the time, these hamsters are happy to be on their own if they have a lovely cage, fresh water, and hamster food. If you then bring them a treat with fruit and veggies now and then, they’ll love you even more.
Most hamsters are happy to be held, even by kids, as long as they’re gentle and quiet. Some will even come to seek out cuddles themselves when their humans come home.
These small rodents are healthy, but it is essential to choose a healthy hamster from the breeder or store, to begin with. It should be active and have clear and dry eyes. Hamster diseases are often very contagious, so if more than one in a cage seems sick, it’s a good idea to choose from a different breeder.
No. 3: Guinea Pigs
Just because you want a low maintenance pet, it can still be cute and cuddly. Like hamsters, these slightly larger rodents make for great pets! They tend to be quite active, talkative, and social, so it’s a good idea to keep at least two Guinea Pigs together.
They make strong bonds, not just to each other, but also to their humans! But, if you’re busy for a few days, they’re also happy to entertain each other.
Guinea Pigs need a slightly bigger cage than the small rodents, as a cage should be at least 1,5m x 1m, and then they’ll need daily to be let out for some exercises. Luckily, these small talkative rodents can be housetrained! Meaning you can let them out in your apartment and still expect them to go back into their cage to do their business.
Guinea pigs are mostly healthy but are prone to obesity, so feed them a healthy diet and let them run around now and then, and they should stay happy and healthy.
No. 2: Rabbits
It comes as no surprise that no. 2 on our list is the rabbit. These small furry cute pets are a fan favorite worldwide and are low maintenance pets to own. These hoppity animals need a large cage, at least 1.5m x 1m, and then need to be let out at least once a day for a runaround. Luckily, like the Guinea Pig, rabbits are relatively easy to train – meaning they can also be housetrained!
Rabbits can get sick, just like all other animals, so keep an eye out for sudden behavior changes, especially if they stop eating! Most rabbits are happy to eat rabbit pellets and love some green vegetables as a snack. Maybe even a carrot now and then?
If you make sure to spend loads of time with your rabbit from it is young, it will come to love cuddles from you – and it might even greet you when you get home!
And our winner is…
No. 1: Rats
Ask most people, and they’ll say they hate rats. These small cute, and easy-to-care-for rodents are very lovable, trainable, and fun to have around. It is recommended not to go out and catch a rat in the wild; these are not going to be friendly rats. But, rats bred in captivity are often very happy to spend time with and cuddle their humans while still being happy to entertain themselves as well!
The Norway Rat is the most common species of pet rat. They tend to grow to 9 to 11 inches long and are happy to munch on rat pellets all day long – but they’ll love some small amounts of fruit and vegetables as a snack!
Rats can develop some diseases, much like cats and dogs, so keep an eye out for your rat and take it for a check-up at your vets at least once a year to make sure it’s happy and healthy! Then you should have a sweet low maintenance pet for a long time.
Most people love a cute pet, but that doesn’t mean they have the time for a high maintenance pet like a dog or cat. Then the pets on this list may be a perfect choice, with the rat coming in strong as a firm number one because a pet rat is probably the ideal low maintenance pet as it is easy to train, cheap to look after, and much cuter than you would expect!
Catharina is a Veterinary Medicine student from Uni of Copenhagen. When she isn’t making camp in the library, stuck to the books, she’s also a writer and avid photographer. Capturing everything from buildings to dogs – especially her poodle Bailey is a frequent subject.