Pet owners enjoy a wide range of health benefits such as lower blood pressure, decreased stress, and lower risk of stroke and heart attack, which is reason enough to head out to your local shelter and adopt.
But what if you don’t have a lot of time, energy, or money to invest in an animal? There are plenty of animals that are easier to take care of and much lower maintenance than the most popular pets like cats and dogs. Here are some ideas:
For those who do not have a lot of free time or free space to dedicate to a pet, fish would make ideal companions. Watching fish is known to have a calming effect and reduces anxiety. Fish are also quiet and will not be barking and waking up the neighbors at all hours of the night. They don’t need much – just a clean tank and some food -and fish are relatively inexpensive to take care of.
These fluffy animals are easy to care for and bring a lot of joy into the home. Guinea pigs are generally quiet yet very sociable and affectionate. They are also intelligent and love to cuddle. You will simply need a 4-square-foot hutch, a bowl for food, and a water sipper. Guinea pigs are vegans so their food does not cost much.
For people who work long hours or have an inconsistent schedule, a bird would make a great pet. Birds are extremely intelligent and make excellent companions. They do not require a lot of attention, but with training they can become very affectionate. Birds are inexpensive to feed, and their small cage does not take up much space.
A frog would make an exceptional pet for someone who travels a lot. You only need to feed a frog 3 to 4 times a week, and they do not produce very much waste. Frogs can be entertaining without demanding attention in return. Frogs also live longer than most other pets, with some species living as many as 25 to 30 years.
These lizards have a docile nature that makes them a good choice of pet for children of all ages. They are small and not very heavy so they can be easily handled by kids. Once you get them set up in their cage, they do not require a lot of effort. Leopard Geckos can easily live over 20 years, so you and your family will enjoy this low maintenance animal for many years.
As long as the water is at least as deep as twice the width of the turtle’s shell, there is hiding place inside the spacious tank in which the turtle cannot get trapped, and a basking area where the turtle can be completely out of the water and sprawl in the sunlight, these colorful reptiles are easy to care for. They can live indoors or outside, in an aquarium, a tank, or in a pond, painted turtles can be great pets.
Keep one corn snake to a cage, as they are not known for their social skills. A shoe-box sized cage is fine for a baby corn snake, but once they reach adulthood, make sure the cage is at least 20 gallons long and escape-proof–they can be sneaky.. Toss a branch in the cage for climbing, make sure there is adequate space inside for it to hide, and a corn snake can be a fabulous pet.
Hamsters enjoy a good cardio workout. A wheel inside the cage or a supervised hamster ball outside the cage will keep your hamster happy. They’re nocturnal animals so don’t take it personally if they don’t seem too interested in hanging out during the day.
If you have the space for a puppy pen (36 inches or higher), then your pet rabbit can actually live outside a cage. They enjoy a bit of space to frolic about. Make sure the floor of the rabbit housing area isn’t chewable and provide a small cat-sized litter box and your bunny will be good to go.
Give these little guys a terrarium with rocks to climb onto, sand to dig into, and adequate humidity (which can be accomplished with daily misting if necessary) and you’ll have one of the cooler pets out there.