The Apartment Pet: Great Creatures for Small Spaces

The apartment pet is often a dilemma. Although a pet brings warmth and love to an apartment, not all pets are practical in a small space, and many aren’t even possible! Trying to nurture an animal that needs lots of exercise and room to run around in is a no-go in an apartment setting; you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed, and so will your pet. If you do have the space, your landlord may have restrictions on the pets you’re allowed to keep. Luckily, even if a dog or a cat is out of the picture because of space concerns or a mandate from your landlord, you’ve got plenty of great choices for an apartment pet who can make an appealing companion without dominating your living space. This article will introduce three types of pets that are ideal for apartments, along with a look at the pros and cons of each. A pet makes an apartment feel like a home, and these apartment pets are truly great creatures for small spaces.

Think Terrarium

If you’re interesting in picking an apartment pet that can bring strong visual appeal to your living space, consider choosing small amphibians or reptiles that can flourish in a terrarium. Geckos, salamanders, turtles, and fire-bellied toads all make fun terrarium dwellers, especially when you create a neat environment for them to live in. Populate the tank with lush vegetation, rocks in an eye-catching color spectrum, and anything else you can dream up. Although most reptiles and amphibians don’t require much from their living space, and a simple, sparse habitat can be quite elegant, with a terrarium, you have the opportunity to go beyond something that looks like a tank or a cage and create an ecosystem. Pick a terrarium dweller or two as your apartment pet, and you can let your creativity flourish and create a truly unusual dÃ?©cor accent as well as a stimulating environment for your lucky pet. Animals that live in terrariums are usually amenable to being lifted out of their tanks to play, as long as you provide careful supervision: when it’s out of their terrarium, keeping your pet safe in your palm is a good idea.

Pro: Terrarium environments are fun to design, and make your pet feel and look comfortable. Of course, you can always take your critter out to play, too!
Con: Many terrarium-dwellers require that you feed them live insects, so if dropping crickets into a tank isn’t your idea of fun, these pets might not be for you.

Think Cuddly

When it comes to picking an apartment pet, sometimes the most important thing is having something warm and friendly that can sit in your lap while you watch television. Small mammals that you can keep in a cage (like guinea pigs, mice, and rabbits) have a lot of appeal as apartment pets because they lend themselves to satisfying physical and emotional contact. However, before you take on one of these critters as your apartment pet, be sure that you’re prepared for the impact on your lifestyle and on your living space. An apartment pet with fur is almost always an apartment pet that requires a high level of maintenance. From cleaning the cage every week to grooming regularly to monitoring more complex dietary needs than those of the other pets on this list, having a mammal as your pet means taking on a substantial care burden. It’s also important to consider the impact that pet odors may have on your living space; if you have a one-room studio or a small dwelling where smells are likely to carry, you may want to opt for an apartment pet that won’t generate as much aroma. Of course, many pet owners feel that the benefits of these adorable, friendly, cuddly creatures more than outweigh the costs.

Pro: Adorable and appealing, with lots of potential for interaction.
Con: Requires lots of maintenance, including frequent feedings, cage cleaning, grooming, etc. Cages can be visually unappealing, pet odors can be problematic.

Think Oceanic

An apartment pet from the sea or the seaside can bring the beauty of the shore to any apartment, whether it’s thousands of miles from the ocean or just a few feet from the beach. Fish are hardly a new idea as an apartment pet, but what many people don’t consider is just how many options there are beyond the basics. While a single goldfish in a classic round bowl can be a comfortingly familiar pet, there are plenty of other water-loving creatures that make great apartment pets. Consider brightening up your living space with a bustling colony of elegant, ethereal brine shrimp: the only care that they require is a supply of purified water, and a single feeding every week. Or, leave the waters behind and take your inspiration from the seashore with a pet hermit crab: land hermit crabs are inexpensive, have an exotic look, and many hermit crab owners rave about the vibrant individual personalities that these little crawlers display. From minnows to sea snails, from a few brightly colored fish to a full miniature tide pool, pets from the sea and the beach can make great apartment pets.

Pro: Easy care regimen, visually exotic.
Con: In general, there’s limited opportunity for interaction with water pets, because you can’t remove them from the tank. This means that there’s less chance to get to know your pet, or to form an emotional bond.

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