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Best Small Exotic Pets for Apartment Living

Living in an apartment might limit you from getting a big dog or talkative cat. Here, our Hattiesburg vets share 8 of the best small exotic pets that are ideal for apartment living.

Plenty of people love having a critter in their lives, but sometimes traditional pets such as cats and dogs might not be suitable for a person's living situation. Other than that, potential owners could be allergic to common domesticated animals, or perhaps be too busy at work to spend enough time with them and keep them happy and healthy. Or perhaps their personal preference stops them from adopting a kitten or puppy, but they'd still like to make an addition to their family! 

While the idea of owning one of the pets below is fun, potential owners must research the requirements for these pets to know if they are able to provide them. It is also pertinent to double check that this type of animal is legal to own in your state.

Additionally, ensure there is a veterinarian in your area that is capable of caring for your exotic pet!

Once those requirements are met, it's time to pick your exotic pet match. Here are 8 small exotic pets ideal for apartment living.


This small, playful pet could be an excellent addition to your apartment as they are clean and fairly odor-free. If you handle them from a young age very gently and with respect to when they don't want to be picked up, they can form a close bond with you. Since they are nocturnal, chinchillas will spend most of the day sleeping, so those long work hours shouldn't bother them!

The recommended terrarium size for these exotic creatures is at least two feet.


Did you know that there are approximately 50 breeds of rabbits that people can adopt? 

Rabbits are small and quiet mammals that love to be cuddled and keep their owners' company. They are also litter trained, so they don't require outdoor access. You can even provide your rabbit with exercise by letting them wander free around your home. Like cats, rabbits value their independence, so give them their space when needed and they'll love you for it.

However, rabbits love to dig and chew, so make sure your apartment is bunny-proof and ensure they can't access any electrical cords.  


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 exotic pets. People with allergies can typically be comfortable if they have these exotic pets in their home. They can also be tamed relatively easily if you handle them regularly.


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 making sure they can't escape and by blocking off potential hazardous hiding spots, such as the oven. You may require a permit to own one in your state.

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. 

Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pets among lizard owners because of their friendly nature and beautiful spotted pattern. You can also feed them easily with insects that are pre-prepared at most pet stores.

They usually enjoy being handled and socializing with their human owners over other lizards, making them an ideal reptilian choice if you want to show them off when friends come over!

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.

Remember, though, that consistent hand-washing is necessary when handling lizards as they can spread salmonella to humans.

Bearded Dragon

These reptiles have a reputation for being docile and friendly. They are an excellent choice for beginner lizard owners because they are generally 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!

Like the Leopard Gecko, these lizards can spread salmonella to you, so be vigilant and cleanly! And, they require some effort when it comes to their feeding, including live insects and fresh vegetables.


If you have a small apartment and want a pet to display and look at, an exotic 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.

Hedge Hog

These nocturnal, exotic mammals are quiet and good pets 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 2 feet by 3 feet.

However, you might require a permit to adopt this adorable critter depending on which state you live in.

Questions about keeping an exotic pet happy in an apartment? Contact our Hattiesburg vets today for inquiries.

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