Looking For Low-Maintenance? These Are Some Of The Easiest Pets To Care For

Having a pet is one thing in theory and another in practice. Once the novelty of a new creature living in your home wears off, taking care of it can start to feel like a chore. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for those who need a low-maintenance pet. From insects like scorpions to furry critters like chinchillas, there’s something for everyone willing to take care of an animal companion. Read on to discover which amphibians, rodents, insects, and mammals are the easiest to handle as pets.

Betta Fish

A red and blue betta fish stares into the camera while swimming.
Bilgin Sasmaz/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Bilgin Sasmaz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Aside from being gorgeous to look at, Betta fish are also relatively easy to care for. Though it’s presumed that all fish are easy pets, some are more high-maintenance than others. Bettas are among the easiest kinds of fish to care for, but the key is their environment.

They do best in an aquarium with at least five gallons of warmish water, so a heater is recommended. So long as their setup is adequate, all you’ll need to do is feed them once a day and change out a percentage of the water every so often.

Dwarf Frogs

A girl looks at dwarf frogs in an aquarium.
Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Dwarf frogs are little amphibians that only grow to about 2.5 inches in length and live about five years. It’s recommended to keep them in pairs since they are social creatures. For this reason, they also tend to get along with other tank pets, such as Betta fish!

Though the frogs aren’t venomous, it’s important to only ever handle them with gloves on to prevent the spread of disease. They are heavily reliant on being in the water and shouldn’t be taken out for more than a few minutes at a time.

British Shorthair Cats

A woman holds her gray cat.
TASSTASS via Getty Images
TASSTASS via Getty Images

The British shorthair cat is an excellent choice for those looking for a snuggly pet that isn’t too high maintenance. Relative to some other cat breeds, these felines have fewer grooming needs since they have shorter fur.

They also tend to get along well with other pets and children since they have a mellow demeanor. British shorthairs are independent and don’t need much in the way of attention, though they do enjoy being near their people.

Praying Mantises

A praying mantis climbs on a man's face.
Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Praying mantises are among the more beautiful of the insects and are not harmful to humans. Adults can fly away, so it’s best to keep the windows closed while handling one.

Since they eat things like moths and fruit flies, you may even benefit from keeping a praying mantis in the house. These graceful bugs can grow up to 6 inches long depending on the type, and they only live to be about a year old.

Guinea Pigs

A little girl pets her guinea pig.
Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Guinea pigs are one of the more adorable rodents that give the feel of a mammal pet without all the hassle. They are housed in cages lined with bedding and equipped with a water bottle, a hide house, and chew toys.

Guinea pigs eat hay, vegetables, and pelleted food. The social furballs love attention from their owners but can be particular about the way they are handled. All they need is a few minutes of play and petting time each day.

Mice

A woman holds a mouse in both hands.
Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Though stray mice can be a frightful sight, domesticated mice can make wonderful, low-maintenance pets. Compared to rats, mice are much smaller and males do best on their own since they are territorial.

Female mice, like rats, need to be in pairs as they get lonely. In terms of socialization, mice are often compared to cats while rats are compared to dogs. Mice will take longer to bond with their owner and don’t need much attention. They also require much smaller enclosures compared to those needed for rats.

Leopard Geckos

A young person holds a leopard gecko in both hands.
MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet that also can have a long lifespan, a leopard gecko may be right for you. These cute pets can live up to 20 years long and enjoy being handled once they are used to their environment (about four days after moving in).

They also don’t have sticky hands which means that they can’t climb on walls. They do need a tank that is about 15 gallons in size. They eat crickets and worms, both of which are inexpensive and easy to attain.

Butterflies

A butterfly sits on a little girl's nose.
Carl Court/Getty Images
Carl Court/Getty Images

Butterflies are a lovely pet to observe and learn from since their metamorphosis is a wonder to witness. There are a variety of ways to construct a caterpillar home, which can be open or enclosed so long as there is proper ventilation.

One idea is to set a plant in an old fish tank and keep the caterpillar there. It will eat the leaves and climb on the sticks before turning into a butterfly, at which point it will drink nectar and fly around freely.

Hamsters

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William Gottlieb/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
William Gottlieb/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Hamsters are one of the more popular choices when it comes to rodent pets thanks to their history as a low-maintenance companion. They can eat a variety of human foods such as broccoli, cucumbers, and apples.

Aside from feeding them a tablespoon or two once per day, there isn’t much hamster owners need to do for them. Hamsters are satisfied with a water bottle and a running wheel. Kids can take them out to play every so often and their cages should be cleaned about once a week.

Hermit Crabs

A hermit crab walks on the sand.
David Tipling/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
David Tipling/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hermit crabs are among the easiest pets to care for since they only need food and shelter to be satisfied. As pets, their diet consists of pellet or powder food and they need a five-gallon terrarium.

Their shelter should be out of the sunlight and lined with aquarium gravel or reptile bark. The little critters are, on average, 4 inches long and can live for decades. They are social creatures, so it’s best to have more than one kept together.

Rabbits

A boy holds his pet rabbit while feeding it a carrot.
William Gottlieb/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
William Gottlieb/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

If you’re looking for a common pet mammal that isn’t a dog or a cat, you might consider a rabbit. Smaller variations weigh less than a pound, while giant rabbits can weigh upwards of 20 pounds.

So long as they have enough space to hop around, they can be kept in a pen or cage. At the very least, they should be able to roam freely about the house for a few hours a day. Rabbits primarily eat hay, but they can also have certain vegetables and, occasionally, some fruits.

Turtles

A person holds a tiny turtle between their fingers.
SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images
SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

There are hundreds of kinds of turtles, making them one of the most varied pets out there. Whether you want a giant turtle to live in your backyard pond or a tiny one to add to an aquarium, there’s no limit when it comes to their size.

Pond turtles can be kept with large fish, but they’ll eat smaller fish. Depending on the kind of turtle, they’ll eat fruits, veggies, insects, worms, pelleted food from a pet store, and more.

Tarantulas

An elderly woman holds a taratula.
Simon Cotter/ Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Simon Cotter/ Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

If cockroaches keep infiltrating your home, a tarantula may be a good companion as that’s one of the insects they eat. The fuzzy spiders are far less scary than they look; they rarely bite humans and typically aren’t dangerous.

The easygoing insects do need to be kept out of the sun but are otherwise low-maintenance. They only need to be fed once or twice a week and are generally tidy creatures, so weekly cleanings should be easy to manage.

Snakes

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Shariq Allaqaband/BarcroftImages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Shariq Allaqaband/BarcroftImages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

To some, the idea of owning a pet snake seems insane. For others, snakes are the most incredible pets a person can own. Like turtles, snakes come in a wide array of sizes and kinds.

Corn snakes are generally thought of as good beginner pets since they tend to be compliant and are only two to six feet long. The diet of a pet snake depends on the kind, but generally includes rodents, so be sure you don’t also have a pet mouse!

Scorpions

A girl holds her pet scorpion in her hand.
Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images
Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

If you’re looking for a pet that’s anything but cute, a scorpion may be for you. These insects may be frightening to look at, but some variations have a mild sting. That being said, it’s essential to be sure that you don’t have allergies.

Pet scorpions are kept in a terrarium with plants and reptile bark (gravel is too harsh on their skin). The key is keeping their shelter warm and humid with a heat lamp and mister.

Chinchillas

A chinchilla stands on its hind legs.
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chinchillas are another adorable rodent option that would be best suited for those who won’t mind their skittish nature. Since they tend to be nervous, it can take time for chinchillas to grow comfortable with being held.

They are capable of bonding with their owner and can grow accustomed to being held by those they trust. They need a large cage with bedding, toys, hide areas, a feed rack, and hay. Once they are all set up they only require weekly cage cleanings and one to two tablespoons of food per day.

Pugs

Paula Abdul poses with her pug in 1990.
Tim Roney/Getty Images
Tim Roney/Getty Images

While dogs aren’t generally considered low-maintenance pets, it all depends on the breed. If you want an easygoing canine, you may want to consider a pug. These wrinkly companions weigh less than 20 pounds and love to lounge on the couch.

They need moderate exercise to stay healthy, so a walk and some play each day is good enough. They rarely need to be bathed and only need a weekly brushing to remove loose fur.

Stick Bugs

A person holds a stick insect on their palm.
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP via Getty Images
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP via Getty Images

Stick bugs are a solid choice for those looking for an insect pet that isn’t intimidating or bothersome. They are formally known as Phasmids, but get their common name from their uncanny resemblance to sticks.

The smaller variations of this bug are only half an inch in length, while the giant version can grow to be 21 inches long! They are one of the most low-maintenance pets you can own as all they need are some fresh leaves to feed on once every few days.

Snails

A snail crawls on tree bark.
Hollie Latham/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Hollie Latham/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Aside from the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, having a pet snail isn’t something you commonly hear about. Nevertheless, many have found them to be one of the best low-maintenance pets since they need very little in terms of care.

They are kept in a terrarium with a little soil and can eat a variety of food, including fruits, veggies, dog treats, and turtle food. Feed them a couple of times a week and wipe away the slime trails in their shelter weekly.

Ants

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Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

When you spot an ant on your arm or around the kitchen, you don’t usually think of it as an opportunity for a new pet. While ant infestations are no joke, keeping an ant farm is almost effortless.

All you need to do is provide the ants with a few drops of water every day and a tiny bit of food once a week. It’s important to keep the ant farm out of direct sunlight and to avoid moving it.