6 Small Pets for Any Lifestyle

Pets bring so much joy to our lives, but before we add a furry friend to our family, it’s important to know that they can fit into our lifestyle. For instance, it doesn’t make any sense to get a high-energy pet, like a Siberian Huskey, if you live in a tiny apartment and work long hours. But never fear, these 9 small pets are perfect for all kinds of people living all kinds of different lives.

1. Best Small Pet for Children: Guinea Pigs

Guinea pig is a favorite among small pets
Guinea pigs make great small pets for children because they are active and interesting to watch and play with.

If you have children who are begging for a dog, but you know your family just isn’t ready for a dog yet, we highly recommend getting them a guinea pig or two. Guinea pigs are still nice and fluffy, like dogs, and they are typically happy to be handled and cuddled. If you buy a guinea pig that doesn’t seem to enjoy handling, it’s possible that the children are being a little too rough. Try handling the guinea pig very gently yourself for a few days and watch to see if it starts to seem more comfortable, then let your kids try again.

We do want to point out that, even though guinea pigs themselves are pretty small pets, they require a relatively large living space. The last thing you want to do is coop up your guinea pigs in a tiny cage. They will quickly grow lethargic, depressed, and develop health issues. It’s important to get a cage that is at least 8 square feet for one guinea pig, or at least 10 square feet for two guinea pigs. If you live in a small apartment, a guinea pig may not be the ideal pet for your kids.

2. Best Small Pet for Small Living Spaces: Mice

If you want an intelligent pet you can watch as it runs and climbs and learns about its environment, mice are the way to go.

Mice are the smallest pets, and they are the best pet for people who have limited living space. Unlike guinea pigs, which require large cages, mice are much smaller and thus require far less space. Don’t get us wrong, you still need to provide your pet mice with plenty of things to climb on, and a running wheel is also a good idea, but they only require a minimum of 2 square feet for cage space.

If you do decide to get mice, we highly recommend getting several female mice. Mice are social creatures, so they will be much happier if they have a companion or two to hang out with, but it’s not a great idea to mix males and females because neutering small animals is very dangerous, which means they will reproduce and create more mice than you likely want to have. We recommend getting all females instead of all males because, while males don’t always have a problem with each other, they can, and unless you’re open to buying separate cages so they don’t fight, it’s best to stick to females.

3. Best Small Pet for Busy Families: Hamsters

Hamsters are social animals, but they can also entertain themselves when need be.

If your family is always running from soccer practice to parent-conference meetings to art classes, then you likely don’t have a lot of time for animals that require constant attention. Fish are good low-maintenance pets, but they’re also not very cuddly for children. Hamsters are an excellent solution. It’s true that hamsters and mice are very similar, but if that long mouse tail freaks you out, hamsters are a good substitute.

If the kids want to play with the hamster but you’re not in the mood to get them out of their cage, you can often get away with simply letting the kids watch the hamster run around its cage because it’s so cute and entertaining. They’re typically happy to be picked up and played with when you have time, but if you have a very busy couple of days, they’re also content to entertain themselves in their cage, provided that you give them items to play with. When you go to the pet store to buy your hamster, you should also add a running wheel, lots of climbing structures, and plenty of things to chew on to your shopping cart. With these things in its cage, your pet hamster will have a very happy life, even if you have a lot going on and can’t spend as much time with it as you’d like.

4. Best Small Pet for Instagram Fame: Rabbits

Rabbit in couch
Just look at that face. How could your followers resist such a precious animal?

If you’re social media savvy and want to create a famous pet account, rabbits are definitely the way to go. It’s true that dogs and cats dominate the top Instagram pet accounts, but they are also much larger than rabbits. If you’re more of a small pet person, a pet rabbit will still do very well on Instagram. Their large ears, cute noses, and fluffy fur make them positively irresistible. Plus, did you know that when rabbits are happy, they do something called “binking”? This is when your rabbit jumps straight up in the air to express his feelings. Rabbits are also known for running around the house when they’re in a good mood. Followers will definitely watch your rabbit exhibiting these adorable behaviors. But that’s why, even though rabbits are relatively small pets, it’s nice if you have some space in your home for them to run around.

One piece of advice before starting a rabbit Instagram though: be careful not to name them anything that will interfere with copyright laws. A copyright battle is the last thing you want when you’re simply trying to show off how cute your little rabbit is.

5. Best Small Pet for Extroverts: Parakeets

Parakeets make great home pets for extroverts because they love to talk, even mimicking human speech!

Are you not exactly big on rodents? Are you an extrovert looking for an animal friend to take care of and talk to? A parakeet may be the perfect solution. Although their big brother, the parrot, is more well-known for its ability to mimic human speech, parakeets also have this special skill, and they are happy to use it. Unlike some of the other small pets on this list, parakeets require lots of attention. They want to talk to their owners for at least an hour total every day, and they can get very sad if left to their own devices too often, so make sure you can devote the time to your parakeet before you add one to your life. Also, your parakeet will likely talk to itself even when it isn’t chatting with you, so make sure you can live with the constant chatter chirps.

It’s also important to consider the lifespan of a parakeet. Rodents have relatively short lives, typically no more than 5 years or so, but parakeets can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years. If you aren’t prepared to live with a bird for that long, then you may want to consider a different pet. Parakeets are also not always a great option for families with children. Birds are very fragile and don’t love cuddling, and kids can be very loud. Many parents don’t want to add even more noise to that scenario.

6. Best Small Pet for Quiet Households: Turtles

Pet turtle
Pet turtles are a serious undertaking, but they make great quiet animal friends.

If you grew up running around local woods and creeks and frequently ran into adorable turtles, you might be tempted to get one now as a pet. But the truth is, these animals are not easy pets. They require quite a bit of money, both initially and throughout their lives (which are very long, typically at least 25 years!), and they need lots of very specific care. Plus, they aren’t always crazy about humans, which means they don’t love being handled all the time.

However, if you’re looking for a quiet, majestic pet to share your life with, a turtle definitely fits the bill. They are ideal pets for people who like to keep to themselves and are willing to learn what it takes to help a turtle thrive. Turtles need very large tanks, at least 10 gallons per inch of shell, and because they’re reptiles, they need heat lamps to keep them a healthy temperature.

If you’re willing to do the research, turtles can be very lovable companions. Just make sure you’re prepared for all the work.

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