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15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

15 Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

If you live in an apartment and a cat or dog is too large for your space then you may be wondering what other pet options are available. Here, our vets in Turlock share some of the best small exotic pets for apartment living and a few details on each to help you choose.

Many people would love to have a pet but are restricted either by their home, lifestyle or allergies. Luckily there are a number of other options for small exotic pets that can provide you with a form of companionship without the same difficulties faced by owning a cat or dog.

The pets listed below may be great choices but be sure to check with your local bylaws before bringing any of these home and be sure to have a full understanding of the care required.

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 mammals 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.

It will be important to remember that you will need to rabbit-proof your home. These pets love to get into everything and they will chew on most of the things they find. Keep cords and valuables up and out of their reach.


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 also need to be careful of their mischievous nature. Ensure your home is ferret-proof by ensuring it can't escape and blocking off potential hazardous hiding spots, such as the oven. You may require a permit to own one 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 fairly easy to take care of, they can even groom themselves! You can have fun watching 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 little critters are intelligent, friendly, and quiet! They could be great pets for apartment owners because they are small and can be tamed fairly easily. They also tend to enjoy sitting on their owners ' laps or shoulders. Their cage only needs to be approximately 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 generally make good apartment pets because they don't need a lot of 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.

Hamsters 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 thrives on socialization and is generally easy to handle. While they do make a "wheek" sound it generally isn't loud enough to disturb people in neighboring apartments. They require an enclosure that's at least 7-8 feet, but it doesn't need to be more than a foot high because they don't typically 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

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pets among lizard owners because of their friendly nature and beautiful spotted patterns. You can also feed them easily with insects that are readily prepared at most pet stores. They also usually enjoy being handled and socializing with their human owners 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 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

These low-maintenance pets are perfect for apartment living because they make no noise and are hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for people with allergies. Hermit crabs can be interesting to watch as they move between shells, and if your tank is big enough, they can do well with another hermit crab tankmate.

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


Chinchillas are an appealing pet as they are small and clean as well as cute and fluffy. If you gently handle them from a young age, they can form a close bond with you, and since they are nocturnal, chinchillas will spend most of the day sleeping.

You should provide your chinchilla with an enclosure of at least 2 square feet and be sure to have a dust bath on hand as these creatures cannot have a regular bath.


While they may seem like a strange choice, millipedes can make a great pet when in a small space. They have minimal requirements and don't take up much room. The African giant millipede is the most common type of millipede, which can grow to be as large as 10 inches long. Even though you can't cuddle them, they can still be handled and don't bite! Their feeding requirements include calcium supplements, fresh fruits, and vegetables. 

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.


Are you okay with having an 8-legged friend? If so then a tarantula may be a great option for you! These quiet pets typically only need to be fed every other day, and their 10 to 20-gallon tank doesn't take up much space. 

While handling is possible, it can be dangerous for the tarantula and they prefer to be left alone. There are many different species of tarantula, with different colors, needs and personalities.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have a new exotic pet that is in need of routine care, please contact our vets in Turlock today to schedule a visit.

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Community Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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