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15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

Are you considering adding an exotic pet to your apartment but feeling unsure which one would be the best fit? Our vets at Jackson is here to help. Today, we will discuss the top small exotic pets suitable for apartment living.

Many individuals enjoy having a furry friend to keep them company at home. However, traditional pets like cats and dogs may not be the ideal option for those living in apartments due to various reasons such as limited access to outdoor space, size constraints, allergies, noise regulations, or personal preferences.

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.


Do you know that around 50 breeds of rabbits are available for adoption? These small and quiet exotic mammals enjoy being cuddled and make great companions for their owners. Additionally, they are litter trained, meaning they don't need outdoor access. You can even let your rabbit roam freely around your home to get exercise.

However, rabbits love to dig and chew, so make sure your apartment is bunny-proof, and 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.

It's important to take precautions with ferrets because of their mischievous behavior. Make sure your home is safe for them by preventing escape and blocking off potential hiding spots, like the oven. It's possible that you may need a permit to own a ferret in your state.


One of the reasons why mice can make great apartment pets is that they don't require a large cage or a lot of space. They are also quiet and relatively easy to take care of, they can even groom themselves! You can have fun watching these little pets perform their playful antics.

If your pets are prone to being nervous, you can assist them in becoming more comfortable by frequently interacting with them and providing food by hand.


These small creatures are smart, amiable, and peaceful. They make excellent pets for those living in apartments due to their size and ease of taming. They often love to sit on their owner's lap or shoulders. A cage of just 2 cubic feet per rat is sufficient for their needs.

They are most active at night because they spend most of their time sleeping during the day. But if you want to spend time with this little pet, all you need to do is wake them.


Hamsters generally make good apartment pets because they don't need much space. They are quiet, don't shed, and are relatively clean. People with allergies can typically be comfortable if they have a hamster in their home. They can also be tamed relatively easily if you handle them regularly.

Cages wise, they require 2 cubic feet of space, a hamster wheel, a place to hide, absorbent bedding, and food and water. 

Guinea Pigs

This type of pet enjoys being around others and is usually easy to care for. They make a noise that sounds like "wheek," but it's not usually loud enough to bother people who live nearby. To keep them happy, they need a space at least 7-8 feet long, but it doesn't need to be high because they don't climb often.

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

Leopard geckos are a highly favored choice of pet for lizard enthusiasts due to their amiable demeanor and attractive spotted appearance. Feeding them is a breeze as they consume readily available insects from most pet stores. Additionally, they often relish interaction with their human caregivers, setting them apart from other lizard species.

Small fish tanks are suitable for keeping certain types of reptiles as pets for those living in apartments. A 10-gallon tank is usually sufficient, but it's best to provide them with a 15 to 20 liter tank. Despite requiring a specific temperature, these reptiles don't typically require 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 have a reputation for being docile and friendly. They are even excellent lizards for beginners because they are easy to keep. While they do require an adequately sized habitat, they don't grow very big and can live comfortably in an apartment. And, yes bearded dragons are legal to own in most states, including new jersey!

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 which can cost thousands.

Feeding ball pythons is considered one of the hardest parts of owning them. Their diet includes live or frozen mice and rats, and sometimes they refuse to eat. Some may also consider their tank requirements a challenge because they need proper humidity as well as a basking and heating area.


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

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


If you have a small apartment and want a pet to display and look at, a frog may be the perfect pet for you. They don't need a lot of space as most frogs only need a 10 or 20-gallon tank and are low maintenance, only needing to be fed a few times a week.

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

If you're looking for a low-maintenance pet that's perfect for apartment living, hermit crabs might be a good choice. They don't make any noise and are hypoallergenic, which makes them ideal for people with allergies. Hermit crabs are also fascinating to watch as they move from one shell to another. If you have a large enough tank, you could even consider getting another hermit crab as a tankmate.

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


A chinchilla can be a great pet for your apartment as they are tidy and do not give off much odor. They can develop a strong bond with their owner with gentle handling from a young age. Additionally, since they are nocturnal animals, chinchillas tend to sleep during the day.

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


On this list, millipedes may seem like an unusual choice for a pet, but they don't require much space and are quite simple to care for. The African giant millipede is the most prevalent type, and it can reach lengths of up to 10 inches. While they cannot be cuddled, they can be handled without biting. They need calcium supplements, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, for their diet.

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 love spiders? If so, a tarantula could be the perfect pet for you! These quiet pets typically only need to be fed every other day, and their 10 to the 20-gallon tank doesn't take up much 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 North Madison Animal Hospital today.

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North Madison Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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