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15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

Are you looking for an exotic pet to share your apartment with? Today, our Mechanicsburg vets share 15 of the best small exotic pet options that may fit your apartment lifestyle.

Most people enjoy having an animal companion in their homes. Traditional pets, such as cats and dogs, may not be suitable for a person's lifestyle, particularly if they live in an apartment, for reasons such as lack of access to a yard, unit size, 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 pet ideas for apartment living.


Did you know there are approximately 50 breeds of rabbits that people can adopt? They are small and quiet exotic mammal pets 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.  


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 must also be wary of their mischievous nature. Make your home ferret-proof by preventing them from escaping and blocking off potential hazardous hiding spots, such as the oven. In your state, you may need a permit to own one.


Mice make excellent apartment pets because they do not require a large cage or a lot of space. They are also relatively quiet and easy to care for; they can even groom themselves! It's entertaining to watch these little pets perform their playful antics.

While they are skittish, you can help them overcome it by handling them often and hand-feeding them.


These intelligent, friendly, and quiet creatures! Because they are small and easily tamed, they could make excellent apartment pets. They also like to sit on their owner's lap or shoulders. Their cages only require about 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.


Hamsters are good apartment pets because they don't require a lot of space. They are relatively clean, quiet, and do not shed. People with allergies are usually relieved if they have a hamster in their home. They can also be tamed relatively easily if handled 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. 

Guinea Pigs

This pet enjoys socialization and is generally easy to care for. While they do make a "wheek" sound, it is usually not loud enough to bother people in nearby apartments. They need at least 7-8 feet of the enclosure, but it doesn't have to be more than a foot high because they don't climb.

They enjoy being let out to interact with their owners and explore their environment, although, you do need to make sure there are no exposed electrical cords or wood fixtures that they can chew on.

Leopard Geckos

Because of their friendly nature and beautiful spotted pattern, leopard geckos are one of the most popular pets among lizard owners. You can also easily feed them insects that are readily available at most pet stores. They also prefer being handled and socializing with humans 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's very important to wash your hands after handling leopard geckos because they can transmit salmonella to you.

Bearded Dragons

These reptiles are known for being calm and friendly. They are also excellent lizards for beginners because they are simple to care for. While they do need a suitable habitat, they do not grow very large and can live comfortably in an apartment. And, yes, most states allow the ownership of bearded dragons.

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.

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.

One of the most difficult aspects of owning a ball python is feeding it. Their diet consists of live or frozen mice and rats, and they occasionally refuse to eat. Some people may consider their tank requirements difficult because they require proper humidity as well as a basking and heating area.

Hedge Hogs

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

However, you might require a permit to adopt this adorable critter.


A frog may be the ideal pet for you if you live in a small apartment and want something to display and look at. Most frogs require only a 10- or 20-gallon tank and are low maintenance, requiring only a few times per week feeding.

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.

Hermit Crabs

These low-maintenance pets are ideal for apartment living because they are quiet and hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers. Hermit crabs are fascinating to observe as they move between shells, and if your tank is large enough, they can get along well with another hermit crab tankmate.

The recommended tank size for this pet is 10 to 20 gallons.


Because they are clean and relatively odor-free, this small playful pet could be an excellent addition to your apartment. Chinchillas can form a close bond with you if handled gently from a young age, and because they are nocturnal, they will spend the majority of the day sleeping.

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


Millipedes are probably the most unusual pet on this list, but they require little space and are relatively easy to care for. The most common millipede is the African giant millipede, which can grow to be 10 inches long. Even though they cannot be cuddled, they can be handled and do not bite! Calcium supplements, fresh fruits, and vegetables are among their nutritional requirements.

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.


Do you enjoy spiders? If so, a tarantula might be the ideal pet for you! These quiet pets typically only require feeding every other day, and their 10 to 20-gallon tank takes up little space.

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

To learn more about the care requirements for exotic pets, contact our vets at Silver Springs Clinic today.

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Looking for a vet in Mechanicsburg PA? Silver Springs Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our skilled veterinarians are passionate about improving the health of Central Pennsylvania companion animals. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.

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