30 Pets That Are Easy to Care For
We get so much from having pets — everything from unconditional love to a greater understanding of the natural world. But pets also can complicate our lives, and even those that are considered low-maintenance can take time, energy and resources. Sometimes, the best decision when getting a pet is finding one that’s easy to care for and maintain.
If you have a busy lifestyle with very little extra time, you’re going to want to get an animal with minimal needs — something that’s OK being left alone or one that doesn’t need a lot of expensive and time-consuming care. If you’re getting a first pet for a child, you’ll want one that’s not going to take a lot of work and will stay healthy.
Here are 30 suggestions for easy, low-maintenance pets that are good for newbie pet owners or people who want a pet that requires minimal effort.
African Dwarf Frog
Size: 2.5 inches
Lifespan: 5 years
Environment: They need a 10-plus gallon aquarium with a water temperature of 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re fully aquatic amphibians and are quite happy to stay in the water full-time, but they need room to exercise their legs and swim around. There should be space between the top of the tank and the water, so the frogs can come up for air when needed.
How to Care for a African Dwarf Frog
African Dwarf frogs are fairly easy to take care of as long as their water is monitored and the water quality is checked weekly. They eat fish pellets, bloodworms and brine shrimp.
They’re the kind of pet that gives us a glimpse into another world and a different way of living. They don’t need much human interaction, but that doesn’t mean they’re not sociable with other frogs, so it’s a good call to have several live together.
Size: 16-24 inches
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Environment: A bearded dragon requires a 55- to 75-gallon tank. It should include areas that they can climb on like rocks and branches, places to sun themselves and even hiding places.
The temperature range should go from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 on the higher side, and they prefer a humidity level of approximately 35 to 40 percent.
The bearded dragon must have exposure to UV lighting. It’s recommended that a timer be installed so that the dragon has 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each night.
How to Care for a Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are more lizard than dragon. However, they still make unique and fascinating pets. Once you set up their habitat and have a deeper understanding of their specific needs, you can relax and enjoy them.
There is no fire-breathing wrath for these guys, but they’re so laid-back that you can put them on a leash and take them for a walk.
British Shorthair Cat
Size: 12-14 inches, 7-17 pounds
Lifespan: 15-20 years
How to Care for a British Shorthair Cat
British Shorthair cats are wonderful companions and very easy to care for. They like attention, but they’re cool being by themselves and sleeping in the sun. If a British Shorthair feels like playing and no one is around, that doesn’t stop them from having fun.
They do need to be brushed fairly regularly, or their fur can become knotted. Free-range eating isn’t great for them, as they can overeat and put on weight. They’re not a "get it and forget it" type of pet, but having one in your life doesn’t take too much effort, and the benefits are well worth it.
Size: 12 inches
Lifespan: Up to 10+ years
Environment: They need a fairly large, multitiered habitat that isn’t in direct sunlight or a drafty area. There should be high-quality paper bedding at the bottom of the enclosure, which should be changed weekly, with the soiled paper removed daily.
How to Care for Chinchillas
Not only do chinchillas have an enviable soft, beautiful coat, but once socialized, these pets love to be cuddled and carried. They live on a diet of pellets and hay with a very limited amount of fruit and vegetables. If the produce isn’t consumed within 24 hours, it should be thrown away, or the chinchilla will get sick.
These animals can be nervous, and it can take them a minute to get used to being handled by humans, so they’re typically better suited as pets for older children and adults.
Size: 2-5 feet
Lifespan: 6-8 years
Environment: Corn snakes do best in tanks with underneath heaters. The temperature in the tank should be 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 40 to 60 percent. There should be some hiding places and branches to climb on for the snake.
How to Care for a Corn Snake
As snakes go, corn snakes have a sweet nature, are gentle and make great pets for first-time snake owners. Their diet consists of rodents, and a quail egg makes an excellent treat.
You do need to be aware that these snakes are escape artists, so always make sure that their enclosure is secure and that they can’t slither out of it.
Size: 9.8 to 12 inches
Lifespan: 3-8 years
Environment: A sturdy roof on their enclosure is a must so that they’re protected from any predators and prevented from escaping. There should be vertical space to allow them to climb, a deep layer of bedding material so that they can burrow and make nests for themselves and some items to keep them stimulated, such as wheels and tunnels.
How to Care for a Degus
Degus are rodents from Chile. They make fantastic pets when they’re socialized from a young age. They’re extremely intelligent and love being handled and tickled once they’ve bonded with their humans. Degus do best in pairs so that they don’t become lonely.
One unique need that they have is that the Degus should be given access to a dust bowl two or three times a week. This shallow and heavy bowl should have enough sand for them to roll around in for not longer than 20 minutes.
Size: 9-16 inches
Lifespan: Up to 11 years
Environment: Fennec foxes are desert animals, so they need a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people who have these animals make their own pens out of wood and wire screening. They need enough room to run around in.
The challenge with housing the Fennec fox is that they’re expert diggers and can dig holes 20 feet deep. If they’re housed inside, the downside is that they’ll jump all over your furniture and break things. The upside is that they can be trained to use a litter box and sleep in a dog crate.
How to Care for a Fennec Fox
It’s not universally legal to own a Fennec fox, so before getting one, make sure it’s not illegal where you live. Like any foxes, Fennec foxes are wild animals and can be skittish and startle easily.
If socialized at an early age, though, these foxes can learn to coexist with other pets, bond with their human family members and become adept at playing games such as fetch.
Size: 8-18 inches, 1-5.5 pounds
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Environment: Ferrets need a large enclosure with enough room for them to exercise and play. In addition, they need to be able to exercise outside of their cage every day in either a reinforced run outside or a secure room indoors.
How to Care for Ferrets
If you want an entertaining pet, then look no further than a ferret as long as they’re legal where you live. These animals are lively, cuddly and can be a bit of a holy terror. There are no personal boundaries for ferrets. They chew, bury and steal whatever they can get their paws on.
Ferrets are social and adore hanging out with their humans and other ferrets, as long as they’ve been properly introduced and the other ferret seems cool.
Size: 8-12 inches
Lifespan: 10 years in captivity
Environment: Tall metal cages with added chicken wire work well as enclosures for flying squirrels. Make sure there are only tiny spaces between the bars or mesh to prevent escape and accidental injury when leaving the cage or trying to re-enter it.
There should be no dangerous sharp edges or anything that could hurt the squirrel. Chemical-free cotton ropes should be provided for the squirrel to climb as well as soft materials inside their nesting boxes.
How to Care for Flying Squirrels
Flying squirrels are considered exotic animals and are illegal in many states. For people who are approved to own one of these animals and want the love of a dog but without the responsibility, then these are the pets for you.
They’re cute, cuddly and have fun personalities like the vintage cartoon character, Rocky the Flying Squirrel.
Size: 4 inches, 2-4 ounces
Lifespan: 2-5 years
Environment: The best habitat for gerbils are gerbilariums made out of glass that are approximately 400 square inches and 12 inches in height. There must be enough space for exercise and soft materials for bedding and nesting.
Gerbils also require a stimulating environment with a wheel, tunnel and tiny stairs.
How to Care for Gerbils
Gerbils may be indifferent about hanging with humans, but they do best when paired with one or two other gerbils of the same sex. They need toys, scattered food and bedding to encourage foraging, play and exercise.
Any food past its freshness must be removed from the cage, as should any soiled bedding.
Size: 8-24 inches
Lifespan: 10-15 years (if properly cared for)
Environment: The idea that goldfish should live in a bowl is incorrect. They require a roomy and spacious tank. Goldfish are the slobs of the fish world and need to have their tank cleaned regularly and a good filtration system is a must.
How to Care for Goldfish
While you’re not going to receive any cuddles from goldfish, they are beautiful living creatures. Sitting down watching them swim can be both meditative and therapeutic.
There are so many varieties and colors that you’ll never grow bored.
Size: 5-8 inches
Lifespan: 4-6 years
Environment: Depending on the number of green anoles you have, a small tank or terrarium should work well. There should be only one male per tank, but multiple female residents are fine. You’ll need a heater, an incandescent basking light and UVA/UVB to create the correct climate for this pet.
How to Care for a Green Anole
Green anoles are good starter pets for children. They’re awake during the day, fun to watch and are even OK with some human interaction. Some green anoles will eat from their human’s hands and ride on their shoulders.
They only need to be fed every other day, and their diet consists of crickets, mealworms and wax worms. Yum.
Size: 8-12 inches
Lifespan: 4-8 years
Environment: Since guinea pigs are very social, it’s best to have at least a pair of them, and they should be of the same sex. They need a large cage with enough space so they don’t feel cramped, and they should have bedding made from paper.
How to Care for Guinea Pigs
Although guinea pigs can be jumpy and fearful at first, they’re quite easy to tame. The key is to be very gentle and patient with them. Guinea pigs don’t make their own Vitamin C, so they need to either get it from their diet or be given a supplement in their water.
Another thing to consider is that guinea pigs have very sensitive hearing and should not be near anything that generates loud noises like music systems, TVs or rowdy neighbors.
Size: 2-6 inches
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Environment: Hamsters need a clean cage with dry bedding and burrowing material. They’re sensitive to light and heat, so their cage should be in a quiet, dry and temperature-controlled spot. They’re solitary creatures and prefer to live alone. Since they love to hide, they need places to get away from the stress of their daily lives.
How to Care for Hamsters
Hamsters are super adorable and intelligent. In fact, some hamsters can even learn their names. They’re able to use their front and back paws in similar ways as humans, usually to grip food and toys.
Since their teeth are constantly growing, it’s a good idea to give them things to chew on to wear down their teeth naturally. Hamsters do have moods, so it’s up to their owner to keep them entertained and happy.
Size: 4-6 inches
Lifespan: 5+ years
Environment: Hedgehogs need a large cage with a solid floor so that they don’t get their feet stuck in wire flooring. There should be newspaper, paper or Aspen shavings that the hedgehog can dig or make a nest in. Hedgehogs are solitary and should be housed on their own.
How to Care for a Hedgehog
Hedgehogs are part of the Erinaceidae family and are neither rodent nor porcupine, though their spikey fur resembles the latter. These are great pets for people who don’t have a lot of time or resources but still want an interesting companion.
You can feed them high-quality cat food supplemented with mealworms, crickets and treats like hard-boiled eggs.
Size: 2-6 inches
Lifespan: 10+ years
Environment: Hermit crabs need plenty of space, so their plastic or glass tank should be at least 10 gallons. Crabs like sand, so it’s important that their tank has a sandy bottom. They do best when their habitat is kept at 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and kept away from extreme temperatures.
How to Care for Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs are super chill once they get used to their environment, though they will snap at you if they feel threatened. A soft touch is always recommended when handling them, but be aware they don’t especially enjoy being picked up and fussed over.
We recommend not trying to interact physically with them every day.
Size: 6.5-8 inches
Lifespan: 20+ years
Environment: Leopard geckos need a 20-plus-gallon tank that’s temperature-controlled for their specific needs. Aim for a humidity setting for somewhere between 40 and 60 percent. It’s important to have a shallow water dish, a moist area where they can hide, but the tank should be kept dry for the most part.
How to Care for a Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos have a lot going for them as pets. They look cool, and they’re easy to take care of. Plus, they eat crickets, wax worms and mealworms — all of which you can buy at the pet store — and you can have more than one in a tank.
Since they live for a long time, there’s a good chance you won’t get one and then immediately have to say goodbye.
Size: 1-7 inches
Lifespan: 2 years
Environment: Mice need either a wire cage with a plastic tray floor or a glass or plastic tank with a wire lid that can be secured. Wood cages don’t work, as they’ll become smelly. Their enclosure should be tall enough for them to stand upright and hold an exercise wheel.
A layer of shredded paper should be on the floor, and there should be a nesting box filled with shredded tissue paper. The habitat should be cleaned out at least once a week for female mice and more often for male mice.
How to Care for Mice
Mice are often the first pets that kids get because they’re easy to take care of and fun to watch. Plus, they enjoy playing, you can train them, and they’re not very expensive to keep.
Mice eat commercial rodent food and enjoy occasional treats like sunflower seeds, carrots and apples. Contrary to the popular myth, mice aren’t big fans of cheese.
Size: 3.5-40 inches
Lifespan: Up to 80 years
Environment: A small birdcage isn’t going to work for a parrot. They need a large cage placed in a room that gets a lot of use, as parrots are social creatures. Just make sure the cage isn’t in a draft, so don’t place it near any windows, doors or air vents.
There should be a thin layer of gravel at the bottom of the cage, and the cage should be cleaned every other day.
How to Care for a Parrot
Since parrots live so long, they’re not the pet you give to a small child. They’re a lifelong commitment. Parrots are lively, intelligent, and they bond with their human caregivers.
Parrots need active fly time, so time outside the cage is crucial. Parrots enjoy a diet with variety, so feed them fresh vegetables, fruit, seeds, or cooked whole grains.
Size: 11-13 inches, 1-3 pounds
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Environment: Prairie dogs need to be housed in a large metal cage — a doghouse isn’t going to cut it. They need room to move about, explore and exercise. They love to burrow and bury, so they need bedding made of wood shavings, commercial pellets or shredded paper.
How to Care for Prairie Dogs
While they physically are more like rodents than dogs, prairie dogs can be affectionate with their owners and be trained to walk on a leash. One of nature’s more social creatures, caring for one will take a big chunk of your time and attention.
However, feeding them is easy, as they live on a simple diet of hay, pellets, grasses, plants, leaves, fruit and veggies.
Size: 1-6 inches
Lifespan: About a year
Environment: When buying a tank for the praying mantis, you want one that’s two times the width and three times the height as the creature. There should be a layer of dirt, peat moss or soil mixed with sand to help maintain moisture but not mold easily.
Inside the tank should be things that the praying mantis can sit on or hang from, like branches, fake flowers, or stiff blades of wheat or grass.
How to Care for a Praying Mantis
First of all, praying mantises look as if they’re tiny space creatures. Watching how they interact with their environment is fascinating and informative.
They’re easy to care for, and you don’t have to feed them every day. Give them a cricket to munch on, and they’re good for a few days.
Size: 10-13 inches, 7-12 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Environment: Pugs don’t need a special habitat. They do well in any kind of home as long as they have regular walks to keep them healthy.
How to Care for a Pug
We picked pugs to represent dogs because they make such great family pets. They’re super affectionate by nature, love to cuddle, are quick learners and low-maintenance.
Pugs don’t bark much, and they get along with practically everyone. Just be sure to give them at least 20 minutes of exercise a day.
Size: 15-20 inches
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Environment: The goat’s shelter should be 10 feet by 10 feet and should keep the goat safe from predators, while also being escape-proof. Be sure your goat shed has decent drainage and a misting system.
While a grazing area isn’t required, it’s still a good idea, as it will not only feed your goat but help keep them content.
How to Care for Pygmy Goats
Pygmy goats are unique and friendly pets. They’re very social and get along with everyone from children to older adults. They’re active, entertaining and produce milk, so you won’t get bored or thirsty.
If you enjoy watching goats run, jump and get into mock fights with each other, then these are the pets for you.
Size: 12-18 inches, 2-4 pounds
Lifespan: 7-14 years
Environment: A rabbit hutch should be at least 12 square feet with room for the rabbit to hop three times and stand on its hind legs without hitting its head on the roof.
Ideally, a run should be attached to the hutch so that the rabbit can exercise. The hutch floor should be soft so that the rabbit’s feet don’t develop sores, and there should be lots of hay in the hutch for the rabbit to munch on, dig in and burrow in.
How to Care for Rabbits
Rabbits are super intelligent. In fact, they can even be toilet-trained. As far as nurturing your rabbit’s emotional needs, you only need to handle them for one hour a day for them to stay happy.
However, they do need a certain amount of social interaction, so having two rabbits is often better than one. Just be careful that they’re the same sex, or you could have more rabbits than you know what to do with.
Size: 14-18 inches
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Environment: The best rat cage should be at least 2 feet by 2 feet, but the larger you can go, the better, especially if you have more than one rat, which is recommended as they’re very social animals.
The powder-coated wire cage should have a solid bottom that is lined with shredded paper towels or napkins. Make sure there’s something like a box or miniature flower pot that the rats can sleep in.
How to Care for Rats
Rats have a bad reputation, and many people won’t even consider them as pets. But they’re actually easy to care for, friendly and can be hand-trained.
Provide them with a clean environment, toys to play with, time outside the cage to run around and some food, and they’re happy.
Rex Guinea Pig
Size: 6-15 inches
Lifespan: 4-8 years
Environment: Rex Guinea pigs need a reinforced hutch so that they can’t get out and predators can’t get in. They need soft bedding at the bottom, and an attached run is recommended for your Rex Guinea pig’s exercise needs.
How to Care for a Rex Guinea Pig
You can distinguish a Rex Guinea pig from other breeds because of its short, curly and coarse coat. These guys thrive on interaction but will be cautious and distrusting of you at first. All you need to do is make an effort to talk and play with them, and soon you’ll have won their trust.
One thing to be aware of is that they don’t make their own Vitamin C, so they must get it from their food or a supplement sprinkled over their food.
Size: 3-8 inches
Lifespan: 2-6 years
Environment: The main thing you need to be aware of for scorpions is that they need a hot tank: 80 degrees Fahrenheit at the coolest and 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the warmest.
How to Care for a Scorpion
Having a scorpion as a pet is certainly a conversation starter for any age. They’re very easy to care for, as you don’t even have to feed them every day.
You probably won’t find another pet as quiet, clean and low-maintenance as a scorpion, but they’re not for the squeamish.
Size: 0.5 inches
Lifespan: 2 years
Environment: If you want to go basic, all you need is a tank with water to care for sea monkeys. That said, there are so many fun sea monkey accessories and habitats from which to choose, like the Magic Castle, Aquarium Watch, Mars Mania and Micro-Vue Ocean Zoo, to name a few.
How to Care for Sea Monkeys
Sea monkeys, aka brine shrimp, were created to feed baby fish but became a favorite for kids. They’re the lowest maintenance pet because they only need to be fed their special dry food every five to seven days.
Sea monkeys breathe through their feet and are born with one eye. However, they grow two more eyes when they reach maturity. Homework is a lot more fun for your child when using the PenQuarium with their sea monkeys inside.
Size: 4.5-11 inches
Lifespan: 15-25 years
Environment: Tarantulas need a big but secure glass or plastic tank, which should be kept in a dark area of the house. There should be a substrate of potting soil or coco fiber at the bottom of the tank for the tarantula to burrow in. Your tarantula will also appreciate it if there are things to climb or hide in the tank.
How to Care for Tarantulas
These pets aren’t for everybody, especially those who get anxious around spiders of any kind. However, their striking appearance makes them a statement pet.
They feed on a diet of live insects such as cockroaches, crickets and mealworms, so trips to the pet store are never dull.
Size: 2.5-12 inches
Lifespan: 25-50 years
Environment: In a perfect world, you’d supply your turtle with a pond and real sunlight, but not everyone has access to a pond, so a terrarium will do. Ensure there’s enough room for your turtle to wander around in and a secure hiding place for them to hibernate.
How to Care for Turtles
The turtle is the very essence of a chill house pet. They’re cool, calm and their presence can help you relax. They enjoy a diet of live worms, snails and fish but don’t need to be fed every day.
One thing about turtles is they’re good listeners, so if you need someone to tell your problems to, this is the pet for you.