What are the best pets for apartments (that aren’t cats or dogs)?

A sugar glider sitting on a hand

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If you live in an apartment, condo, or other space where you don’t have a lot of room, you might not have a yard or space for big active pets to play and live. You might also share walls and live in the same building as other households, so you can’t have pets that are too noisy as they will bother the neighbors. This all limits you on what pets you can have, so what are the best pets for apartments?

You might also have a landlord who does not allow dogs or cats as they can sometimes be destructive and stinky. Sometimes landlords that do not allow dogs or cats will allow small pets that are kept in cages or aquariums. You will need to ask your landlord what they will allow.

Here are a few pets that might be suitable for your living situation.

Guinea pigs make excellent pets for apartments!
Guinea pigs make excellent pets for apartments!

Small animals and rodents

  • Hamster
  • Gerbils
  • Rats
  • Guinea pigs
  • Ferrets
  • Hedgehog
  • Chinchilla
  • Sugar gliders
  • Rabbits

These pets are all pretty quiet and won’t bother the neighbors with noise. They shouldn’t smell much if their cages are cleaned regularly. Guinea pigs, ferrets, chinchillas, and rabbits require a bit larger cage size, but should still fit in most apartments. Ferrets, chinchillas, and rabbits also require time out of their cage every day for extra exercise, so you will need safe areas for them to explore in your apartment.

See also:


There are many species of lizards and snakes that don’t get too big and don’t require a huge enclosure, so they are perfect pets for apartment living. Some are a little more difficult to care for and might not be appropriate for a beginner, so do lots of research before you bring any home!

Lizards: There are many lizards that would be suitable. Here are some of the most popular: Bearded dragons, geckos such as leopard gecko and crested gecko, green anole, chameleon, blue-tongued skink.

Snakes: Milk snake, corn snake, garter snake, gopher snake, kingsnake, western hognose snake, Kenyan sand boa, rosy boa, ball python.

What are the best pets for apartments? Leopard geckos are awesome!
Leopard geckos are awesome!


Birds are the noisiest pets on this list. All birds make noise and some like to chatter all day. If you are worried about noise at all, birds may not be a good choice. Here are some that are not too loud and can be suitable for apartment living.

  • Budgies/parakeets
  • Cockatiels
  • Finches
  • Canaries
  • Pionus parrot
  • Parrotlet
  • Domestic pigeons or doves

See also:

Things you must consider before getting a pet parrot


Amphibians can make interesting pets. Many are easy to care for and live in an aquarium. These include all kinds of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and axolotl.

See also:

Fire bellied toad care

Fire Bellied Toad - Love The Critters
Fire bellied toad – Copyright: farinosa / 123RF Stock Photo


Fish always make great pets. They are fun to watch and nice to look at. If you are new to fish keeping, try to get at least a 10-gallon aquarium or bigger and stay away from the tiny 5 gallon or smaller ones. Smaller aquariums need more frequent water changes and cleaning. Larger aquariums are more forgiving for the beginner.

You might also need to check with your landlord to see how big of an aquarium they will allow. Most landlords will allow a smaller 10 or 20-gallon aquarium, but they might not allow larger ones. I have had a landlord that only allowed 10 gallons and another one that allowed up to 40 gallons. Others may not have any limit.


Crustaceans are a unique and interesting pet. They are also kept in aquariums. You can keep shrimp which require more water or crabs which most species like both water and land areas.

Some interesting crab species to look into are vampire crabs, red clawed crabs, halloween moon crabs, and hermit crabs.

Halloween Crab - Love The Critters
Halloween Crab – Copyright: isselee / 123RF Stock Photo

Tarantulas and scorpions

Tarantulas and scorpions are pretty low maintenance pets and don’t need much space. Most can be kept in a 10 gallon aquarium or smaller. I think these are some of the best pets for apartments, but probably not for everyone!

My favorite enclosure for terrestrial species is the Exo Terra Breeding Box. Tarantulas and scorpions don’t require handling if you don’t want to handle them and it is actually safer for them if you don’t! They can be addicting and I find them fascinating. I currently have 12 tarantulas!

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula #tarantula
My Mexican Red Knee Tarantula

Turtles and tortoises

Turtles were my very first pet when I was a kid.They are great pets and can live a long time. Mine were full grown when I got them when I was 7 years old so I never knew how old they were. I had them until I was 16 when we moved and couldn’t bring them. We gave them to another family.

The most popular pet water turtle is the red eared slider, but when full grown they require a very large aquarium or tub (100 gallon) and a good filter (they are messy!). They are a great pet if you are able to have a larger aquarium.

There are other turtle species that are smaller in size and less active that can be kept in 20 to 50 gallon aquariums. You need to research each species’ exact needs for what aquarium size you need, etc., but some turtle species to look into would be the common musk turtle, mud turtle, spotted turtle, and Reeve’s turtle (Chinese pond turtle).

Terrestrial turtles and tortoises require a bit more floor space and aquariums are not suitable for them. Ornate box turtles and Eastern box turtles don’t usually get bigger than 6 inches and can be kept in a plastic kiddie pool size enclosure. These take up a good deal of space so might not make them the best pets for apartments, but they might still be okay for some.

Most tortoises get large and require an outdoor enclosure. Russian tortoises are a smaller species that get up to 8 to 10 inches long and can also be kept in a kiddie pool size enclosure.

Legal issues

You also need to make sure whichever pet you are considering is legal to own where you live. Some cities, states, and countries do not allow certain animals to be kept as pets. For example, hedgehogs and ferrets are illegal in many places.

See also

What pets can be kept in a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium?

What are the best pets for apartments (that aren't cats or dogs)?

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