Most apartments that accept pets focus on cats and dogs—animals generally left lose to wreak unlimited havoc on apartments. But what about unusual pets that spend most of their time caged? Here’s an article on animals that may be more attractive to your landlord than dogs that like to dig or cats that like to scratch. Read on and maybe you’ll find your perfect animal match!
Ferrets are often criticized as being smelly and a little too weasel-like for most people, but aficionados say the slender rodents are clever, affectionate, and fun to have as pets. Highly energetic, ferrets like to play with a variety of toys, including balls and tunnels. They are often left caged much of the time, but should be let out for exercise on a frequent basis. A multitude of ferret accessories, including leashes and adorable pouches (ferret hammocks, of a sort) are available. That despicable ferrety scent can be reduced and almost eliminated by spaying or neutering and descenting the animal.
Snakes creep some people out, but others are interested in the strange creatures’ beautiful scales and mesmerizing movements. If you don’t want a fuzzy friend to cuddle, but instead prefer an interesting animal to appreciate (and you don’t mind feeding that animal live mice if necessary), you might look into snakes. Be aware, however, that snakes can require more upkeep than you’d expect. Reptiles are notoriously difficult pets to keep properly. Although they may not need to be walked regularly, cold-blooded reptiles do require special heat lamps or heated rocks to maintain proper body temperature. Reptiles can also require more specialized diets (ever seen anyone buy a 50 pound bag of snake food at the local grocery store), and veterinarians who specialize in reptiles can be few and far between. Keep this in mind when considering a snake or another reptile like a lizard or iguana.
Giddy guinea pigs
The forgotten rodent, guinea pigs take a backseat to the tiny hamster when it comes to most children’s first pet. However, guinea pigs can be fun and active pets in their own right, and are not too difficult to care for. They can eat pelleted food supplemented with vegetables, and can live in large cages or be awarded their own little fenced-off portion of the apartment. If given lots of space, they can even be taught to use a litter box. Guineas make cute (or annoying, depending on your perspective) squeaking sounds and can become attached to their human companions. They can also play in tunnels or wheels, much like hamsters. Overall, guinea pigs are not a bad choice for an apartment animal.
Chinchillas, which look like squirrel-mouse hybrids with furry elephant ears. make beautiful and generally unobtrusive pets. They can be hard to socialize and often remain somewhat aloof, enjoying a quiet environment and responding negatively to loud noises, sudden movements, and drastic changes in the environment. Instead of washing with water, chinchillas bathe in dust or sand. Since chinchillas chew a lot, they need to be provided with chew toys of some sort to meet this need. Large cages are another must for chinchillas; though they’re small, they need space to roam. Chinchillas don’t tend to produce much noise or odor, they can be good indoor animals and present an exotic alternative to rats or gerbils.
Rats are the bane of some people’s existence, but others find the critters both cuddly and clever. If you can stand the sight of those hairless tails and think twitchy noses are cute, rats just might be for you. Rodents are a little easier to care for than reptiles, and fur makes some people a little more accepting of an animal as a pet rather than a pest. Rat lovers claim to be constantly impressed by their pets’ intelligence and ability to figure out new puzzles. Make a maze and see how quickly your rat finds a piece of cheese—you too may be surprised by its wits!
Sweet sugar gliders
Have you always thought squirrels were adorable? Secretly wanted one as a pet? Long no more, as sugar gliders are what you seek. Though not actually related to squirrels, these small rodents bear a resemblance to flying squirrels and are extremely social. They require extensive attention from their human owners or the presence of another sugar glider as a companion. Since these animals need a diet high in fruits and vegetables (and the occasional insect!), sugar gliders may not be an ideal pet for those who just want to pour some pellets in a bowl and call it a day. However, if you’re looking for a sweet and strange little animal, the sugar glider just might be your thing.
There are plenty of other unusual animals you can keep in an apartment complex. Birds, frogs, hamsters, and fish are just a few. Of those, birds tend toward the noisier end of the spectrum, while fish are just as quiet as can be. Evaluate your needs and your apartment’s capacity when considering a pet. Buying an animal that needs more space than you have available does a disservice to you, your apartment, and above all the animal. Analyze your reasons for wanting a pet, ability to care for one, and do extensive research before bringing anyone home. You and your future pet will be happy you prepared well.