14 Exotic Pets That are Perfect for Small Spaces

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If you have a small apartment, it’s safe to say that you can’t really create the best environment for a normal-sized pet such as a dog or a cat. In that case, you should look over through some exotic pets that can represent better matches for places where space comes at a premium. The word exotic refers to animals that are not domesticated so that’s an important aspect to keep in mind. Pets that are not as common are also considered exotic.

Apartment dwellers with various agreements need to make sure that pets are permitted. As exotic varieties can be very different from cats and dogs, you might be able to talk to the homeowner or tenant and get an exception. Many exotic pets are easy to maintain and will accommodate without issues even in smaller homes. From rodents to reptiles and arthropods, take a look at our list of the best exotic pets for a limited space.

1. Hedgehog

If you’re looking for an easy-to-care exotic pet, hedgehogs represent an excellent choice. They’re solitary animals that won’t require a great amount of space. As long as you provide them with a sufficiently large cage, you shouldn’t have too many difficulties in caring for them.

You can house just one hedgehog as this pet doesn’t have separation anxiety. That means it’s a great animal to keep if you’re frequently traveling. The diet of hedgehogs is quite simplistic as it’s mainly made of prepared food, fruits, and insects. You can find food designed specifically for them in pet stores.

With the right handling procedures, you will discover that your hedgehog can be easily tamed even if it becomes a bit temperamental. It will take a while for the animal to get used to a new environment, but that’s completely normal. Most US states allow hedgehogs as pets, but there are some exceptions so make sure you check the state laws before looking to adopt.

2. Guinea Pig

The Guinea pig is a social rodent that’s simple to handle even by children. That being said, they can be difficult to take care of so they represent a fairly large commitment. With a lifespan of 5 to 7 years, this exotic pet lives for quite some time.

While Guinea pigs can be a good option for a small home, be aware that you should still provide it with adequate space. That means a large enclosure would work best. Given how they’re very social animals, these pets should be adopted in same-sex pairs or groups to socialize and play together.

3. Ferret

One exotic pet that’s very social and playful is the ferret. If you can make some room in your home for a large cage, then you can keep a ferret as a pet without issues. The problem with ferrets is that they need quite a lot of outside time so you will have to spend some time litter training the animal.

The intelligence of ferrets represents another great aspect about them. You can teach your ferret tricks to do, similar like you’d train a dog. As they’re extremely curious animals, you need to be careful with them when leaving them out of the cage as they tend to burrow in small spaces.

4. Chinchilla

Chinchillas are small and adorable rodents that can bond very closely with their owners. This exotic pet is quite playful and is usually active at night. They like a routine when it comes to feeding and handling. In terms of space, you will need a roomy cage where the chinchilla can exercise and play.

Taming chinchillas isn’t a very difficult process, but it will still take a considerable amount of time for the animal to trust you, particularly if it’s older and not used to handling. Playtime outside the cage is basically a requirement and make sure you help your chinchilla get regular access to a dust bath.

5. Hamster

Hamsters are more popular as far as exotic pets go. They are small and don’t have great space requirements making them suitable pets for children. There are different breeds to consider when it comes to hamsters. Syrian hamsters are relatively easy to handle compared to dwarf hamsters that are faster and smaller in size.

These pets are simple to maintain as you only need to get them an appropriately-sized cage with some necessities such as an exercising wheel. The diet of hamsters is mainly composed of specially formulated pellets that are bought from a store. You also need to supplement it with other fresh foods that are safe for hamsters.

6. Gerbil

As opposed to hamsters who aren’t very social animals, gerbils prefer staying in groups or same-sex pairs. They’re easier to tame and handle compared to other rodents. Gerbils can deal with limited space, but it’s strongly recommended to give them an area as large as possible if you can’t permit them outside playtime too often.

The social nature of this exotic pet is quite interesting to see in action. Another advantage of gerbils as pets is that you can enjoy their activity during the day as well as they’re not exclusively nocturnal animals. This can be a problem with other rodents such as hamsters that can disturb you at night.

7. Sugar Glider

This is a small marsupial with a fairly long lifespan (10-15 years) that has more of an exotic look compared to more common pets. This animal is adapted to gliding from tree to tree and is extremely social meaning that it’s a requirement to provide it with the companionship of another member of its species. Sugar gliders can also bond well with owners.

You might experience some difficulties with meeting this pet’s nutritional needs as his diet in the wild is quite varied and complex. Given their active nature, sugar gliders tend to prefer tall cages that give them the opportunity to climb and explore. Make sure you check your state laws before considering the adoption of a sugar glider.

8. Hermit Crab

This is a more unusual pet that’s simple to care for with some unique characteristics. Hermit crabs are often curious and interesting to watch, but keep in mind that you won’t really be able to handle them. It’s very important to keep multiple hermit crabs together as they’re social animals. That usually translates to investing in a large tank to house more small crabs together.

9. Degu

Degus can be great pets to keep in your apartment. The degu is a diurnal rodent so you can enjoy his active hours during the day. Similar to other rodents, degus are social animals and they will require a large cage given their big size. You should also provide them with an exercise wheel and nesting materials. Check out this quiet and chew-proof wheel from Amazon.

The fact that they’re easy to tame and handle represents an important reason why these animals make great pets. Aside from pellets and rodent mineral blocks, degus also enjoy nutrient-rich grass and fresh vegetables. Degus breed a lot so it’s best to try adopting an unwanted pet first instead of searching for one to buy.

10. Lizard

When it comes to reptiles, lizards are some of the first exotic pet options to consider. Keep in mind that only specific lizards can be suitable for beginners as many have very complex care requirements. There are also some lizard species that become large and aggressive.

Among the beginner-friendly lizards that are easy to tame, we can count geckos (such as Leopard and crested varieties) and bearded dragons. While reptiles aren’t as exciting as mammals when it comes to social responsiveness, they still make great exotic pets to look after if you don’t have a lot of space.

11. Rat

If you want a small and intelligent exotic pet that’s very simple to tame, you shouldn’t overlook rats. They’re especially recommended for people who enjoy handling their pets. As they’re social animals, rats will need a companion if you choose to become an owner.

While rats are usually low-maintenance pets, they still require lots of care and attention. An important aspect is to provide them with plenty of exercise time outside the cage. Their enclosure needs to be fairly large as well. Keep in mind that rats are most active at night.

12. Rabbit

In case you feel ready for a large pet commitment, then you might take a look at a rabbit as a potential exotic pet for a small house. Rabbits have long lifespans and fairly complex needs. This means you need to do a lot of research to learn how to care for them to be able to enjoy their lovely companionship.

Rabbits are fairly social, but you will need to put some effort when it comes to training them. They require a very large cage so only consider this animal as a pet if you can sacrifice a considerable amount of space. You can keep them in a smaller enclosure but only if you’re willing to let them outside it for playtime more often.

13. Frog

Frogs may not be your first choice for an exotic pet, but they can be ideal to keep in smaller houses. There are various species to consider including dwarf clawed, tree, and pacman frogs. Due to the high chance of spreading fungus infections that affect the frogs’ populations, it’s important to buy your frog from a trusted place and avoid capturing wild frogs.

If you like frogs and wish to keep them as pets, you need to be aware that they have quite a long lifespan. In captivity, frogs can live up to around 15 years. While many frogs from pet store seem small, keep in mind that they’ll grow to larger sizes. Due to their sensitive skin, this is not an ideal pet for handling.

14. Tarantula

Tarantulas can be perfect for small homes, but you won’t be able to enjoy handling them as you risk hurting the tarantula. Owning a tarantula may definitely not be for anyone given how you need to be careful about certain aspects such as escaping from the enclosure.

The good news when it comes to caring for a tarantula is that you won’t need to provide a lot of space to it. Some species might prefer taller cages to stimulate their arboreal climbing nature. As far as exotic pets go, tarantulas can be considered solid options due to being quiet, clean, and low-maintenance.


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