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The Easiest Low-Maintenance Pets for Busy Owners
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The Easiest Low-Maintenance Pets for Busy Owners

Critter Culture Staff

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Everyone deserves to feel the love and joy of owning a pet, but for some, the responsibility of pet ownership may be a little daunting. Thankfully, there are many pet options out there, and many are relatively easy to look after. Whether you have a full-time job or you're looking to teach your child some responsibility, you can find a pet that suits your lifestyle.

Just remember: no matter how low-maintenance, every pet requires a commitment to love and care.

1

Chinchillas

Looking for a pet that's as cute as a kitten or a puppy without the walks, chewing, and litter or potty training? If so, then the chinchilla might be the right pet for you. These round and fluffy rodents have a similar appearance to rabbits, but they're even easier to take care of. As long as you provide them with toys and feed them an appropriate diet of timothy or orchard grass hay, they'll happily coexist with you. You don't even need to pet your chinchilla if you don't have time, as these little critters are fine with or without human attention. Their cage does need daily cleaning to scoop out any waste, and the bedding should be changed out once a week.

A chinchilla by a plant. Savushkin / Getty Images

2

Hamsters

If you're strapped for space, the hamster is a perfect pet that's popular for good reason. From Syrians to Siberians, all pet hamster species are very easy to take care of — even for children. The only real effort they need is regular cage cleaning every week or two. Other than that, just feed your hamster a proper diet of pellets, hamster-friendly seeds, nuts, and produce, and provide them with clean water daily. Hamsters don't need grooming, nor do they need human attention to stay happy. They do have high exercise needs, so be sure to provide your hamster with an exercise wheel.

A curious hamster. Paul Starosta / Getty Images

3

Hedgehogs

One unusual yet surprisingly effortless pet is the African pygmy hedgehog. A hedgehog's diet is easy on the wallet, as they require just a tablespoon or two of high-protein kibble, such as grain-free cat food, and the occasional hedgehog-friendly snack. Despite their sharp quills, they're actually painless to hold, and many enjoy cuddling up to their owners. But, if you don't have time for much bonding, your hedgehog will also be happy alone in a heated tank with plenty of toys for enrichment.

An African pygmy hedgehog enjoying handling. Dimijana / Getty Images

4

Finches

Zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) perched on branch

The finch is an easy and adorable pet bird for owners of all ages. They don't require much time or money, but they're fun to watch and make a pretty addition to any home. Like most birds, finches are highly social and need to be kept in pairs or flocks, so make sure you have a big enough cage. Luckily, they'll take care of all their own grooming as long as you provide them with a shallow bath and cuttlebone. Best of all, you only need to clean their cage every 2 t o4 weeks.

5

Leopard geckos

Many reptiles have complex care requirements, but that's not true when it comes to the leopard gecko. These lizards are popular around the world for their "smiling" expression and simple maintenance. The most important things any leopard gecko needs are a heated vivarium and proper nutrition. They survive best on a diet of live crickets or mealworms, so they're not the best pet for squeamish owners. But, if you can get around the bugs, leopard geckos are easy and lovable.

A leopard gecko in its vivarium. David Northcott / Getty Images

6

Snakes

The boldest busy owners may want to consider a snake as a pet. While many people are scared of these reptiles, they actually make sweet pets that don't require much care. Bigger snakes need quite a large habitat, but once you have the vivarium set up, it only needs deep cleaning once every 1 to 2 months. Another easy thing about snakes is that they don't need live food; depending on the sub-species, you'll likely feed your snake a diet of dead mice, frogs, or fish.

A pet snake with their owner. urbazon / Getty Images

7

Betta fish

If aquatic animals are more your style, you can't go wrong with a betta fish. Of all the fish out there, bettas are one of the easiest to take care of. Setting up any tank requires a little work as the water needs to be treated just right to keep a fish alive. But, once your tank is ready, it won't take much effort to maintain. Buy a filter, and you'll only need to change about 20% of the tank water each week to keep things clean. One of the best things about betta fish is that they come in a huge array of beautiful colors and patterns to suit any busy owner's taste.

A betta fish in a tank. NatalyaAksenova / Getty Images

8

Frogs

Of course, fish aren't the only pet you can keep in a water tank. Land frogs aren't recommended for busy owners, but aquatic African dwarf frogs are very easy to look after. As with betta fish, the bulk of the effort comes in setting up the tank and filter. Along with changing 10% to 20% of the water every week, all you really need to do is feed them pellets or frozen bloodworms twice a day. You can also keep dwarf frogs with fish to make your tank even more fun to watch.

A frog swimming. Robert Pickett / Getty Images

9

Turtles

A turtle tank generally needs more upkeep than a fish or frog tank, but they're still relatively low maintenance compared to most pets. Pet turtles need both filtered water and dry land to survive, so you'll need to take care in setting up their habitat and buying the right furnishings. Your turtles will also need a heat lamp and an underwater heater to keep everything at the right temperature. Beyond that, simply feed your turtles several times a week and clean the tank every 2 to 4 weeks.

A turtle swimming. Kaan Sezer / Getty Images

10

Bugs

If you're looking for the lowest maintenance pet of all, you can always try becoming a bug keeper. Invertebrates generally don't need a big tank, and most of them live off a diet of plant matter. Even very young children can usually take care of pet bugs with little help. Some popular pet bugs to consider include ants, stick insects, praying mantises, and snails. Those looking for a "cooler" pet may also like tarantulas and scorpions.

A child with a praying mantis. Thomas Jackson / Getty Images

11

Hermit crabs

Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures that make great low-maintenance pets. The most important aspects of hermit crab care are providing a suitable environment with proper humidity and temperature, as well as a diverse diet. A mix of commercial hermit crab food, fruits, vegetables, and occasional protein sources like small pieces of cooked meat will keep them healthy. Hermit crabs are social animals, so it's best to keep at least two together. Be sure to provide extra shells for them to grow into as they molt and grow.

close-up of beautiful hermit crab agus fitriyanto / Getty Images

12

Guinea pigs

These adorable, furry rodents are another excellent choice for those who want a low-maintenance pet. Guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for, requiring a clean cage with bedding, hay, fresh vegetables, and pellets. They are social animals, so it's best to keep them in pairs or small groups. Guinea pigs can be quite vocal and responsive to their owners, making them a fun and interactive pet without much time commitment.

guinea pigs being petted Carol Yepes / Getty Images

13

Goldfish

Goldfish are classic, easy-to-care-for pets that can add a touch of beauty to any home. The key to keeping goldfish happy and healthy is a proper tank setup with a good filtration system. Regular water changes and a balanced diet of flakes, pellets, or gel foods will ensure they thrive. While they don't require much attention, watching goldfish gracefully swim around their tank can be relaxing and enjoyable.

Goldfish in Bowl Glasshouse Images / Getty Images

14

Axolotls

Axolotls are unique aquatic pets that are gaining popularity due to their quirky appearance and minimal care requirements. These fascinating creatures require a freshwater aquarium with a gentle filter, hiding spots, and a temperature of around 60-64°F (16-18°C). They are primarily carnivorous, feeding on pellets, earthworms, or frozen bloodworms. Axolotls are mostly independent, but their otherworldly charm can make them a joy to observe.

Axolotl in the water Kobchai Matasurawit / Getty Images

15

Shrimp

Freshwater shrimp are a quirky and colorful addition to any aquarium. They are easy to care for, requiring a well-established tank with plenty of hiding spots and live plants. Shrimp mostly graze on algae, biofilm, and leftover fish food, but they can also be fed a diet of shrimp-specific pellets and vegetables. With minimal interaction needed, shrimp can add life and interest to your tank while helping to keep it clean.

Close up red bee dwarf shrimp stay on timber with green algae as background in fresh water Narongrit Sritana / Getty Images

16

Bearded dragons

Bearded dragons are gentle, easygoing reptiles that make great low-maintenance pets. They require a well-ventilated terrarium with a heat source, UVB lighting, and hiding spots. Bearded dragons eat a varied diet of insects, vegetables, and fruits, making mealtime a breeze. While they appreciate occasional interaction, bearded dragons are generally content to bask and explore their habitat on their own.

bearded dragon on womans shoulder Nevena1987 / Getty Images

17

Sugar gliders

Sugar gliders are small, nocturnal marsupials that make playful and affectionate pets for those who don't mind dedicating some time to bonding. They require a spacious cage with plenty of climbing opportunities and hiding spots. Sugar gliders enjoy a diverse diet of fruits, vegetables, and insects. While they are relatively low-maintenance, they do benefit from regular interaction with their owners, making them a great choice for people seeking a more engaging pet.

Sugar Glider on persons hand Muhammad IQbal / Getty Images

18

Gerbils

Gerbils are small, active rodents that make excellent low-maintenance pets. They require a clean enclosure with bedding, hiding spots, and ample space for burrowing. Gerbils thrive on a diet of high-quality gerbil food supplemented with occasional treats like fruits, vegetables, and seeds. These social animals do best in pairs or small groups and can provide hours of entertainment as they interact with each other and their environment. Gerbils are a great choice for those looking for a simple, entertaining pet that doesn't require much time or attention.

gerbil Devonyu / Getty Images

19

Madagascar hissing cockroaches

While they may not be everyone's first choice, Madagascar hissing cockroaches can make interesting and low-maintenance pets for those with a taste for the unusual. These large, gentle insects are easy to care for, requiring a simple enclosure with hiding spots, a heat source, and proper humidity. Their diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, and occasional protein sources like fish flakes. Madagascar hissing cockroaches don't require much interaction, but their unique appearance and behavior can be a fascinating conversation starter.

Single Madagascar Hissing Cockroach known also as Hisser in an zoological garden terrarium Bernard Bialorucki / Getty Images

20

Sea monkeys (brine shrimp)

Sea monkeys, or brine shrimp, are simple yet entertaining pets that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. These tiny creatures require minimal care, living in small tanks or containers with specially formulated sea monkey water. They survive on a diet of powdered food, which can be purchased alongside a sea monkey kit. These fascinating little creatures are perfect for those who want a low-maintenance pet that doesn't take up much space.

Macro of a Pregnant Female Brine Shrimp (Sea Monkey) Nora Peevy / Getty Images

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