Exceptional Pets for First Time Owners and Apartment Residents


Getting a pet is a big decision and often a large responsibility. There are many circumstances where getting a pet like a dog or a cat can seem overwhelming and even too much to take on, especially for people who live in an apartment or first time pet owners. Luckily, there are many other low maintenance animals that serve as excellent pets, not only for apartment residents, but also for beginners.

Raven, an employee from The Pet Works in Olympia shared lots of information about which pets would work best for someone looking for a lower maintenance animal…

Insects/Arachnids that would make good pets:

Cockroaches (insect) –

  • classification: Insecta
  • lifespan: up to 5 years
  • habitat: a 5-10 gallon tank can house several cockroaches
  • diet: a good diet would consist of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetable along with a high protein pellet, such as dry dog food
  • temperament/behavior: calm, easy-going, some species hiss

Tarantulas (arachnids) –

  • classification: Arachnida
  • lifespan: 5 to 20 years
  • habitat: a 5 gallon tank and only one tarantula per tank
  • diet: tarantulas should have a variety of insects (crickets, mealworms, superworks, etc.). Some larger tarantulas can even eat baby mice and small lizards 
  • temperament/behavior: agile, can be hard to handle

Reptiles/Fish that would make good pets:

Mollies (fish) –

  • classification: Actinopterygii
  • lifespan: 3-5 years
  • habitat: most types of molly fish are happy and can thrive in a 10 gallon tank, they prefer water between 72 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • diet: mollies are often fed fish food flakes
  • temperament/behavior: easy-going, peaceful, enjoy being around other mollies

Goldfish (fish) –

  • classification: Actinopterygii
  • lifespan: 5-15 years
  • habitat: 20 gallons for one adult goldfish, an added 10 gallons per additional fish. They enjoy water on the colder side and freshwater
  • diet: they can eat many different things, fish food flakes and blood worms are commonly fed to goldfish
  • temperament/behavior: happy and friendly, they are sometimes aggressive towards each other

Bearded Dragon (reptile) –

  • classification: Reptilia
  • lifespan: 4-12 years
  • habitat: a baby bearded dragon can be housed in a 25 gallon tank, an adult should be given between 50 to 75 gallons
  • diet: bearded dragons are omnivorous, they will eat almost anything. They enjoy insects, slugs, fruit, vegetables, etc.
  • temperament/behavior: docile, unique, fun, nice

Leopard Gecko (reptile) –

  • classification: Reptilia
  • lifespan: 20 years
  • habitat: a 20 gallon tank is large enough for 2 geckos, but only one male per tank
  • diet: leopard geckos are insectivores, then enjoy crickets, waxworks, and mealworms
  • temperament/behavior: easy-going, calm, affectionate

Corn Snake (reptile) –

  • classification: Reptilia
  • lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • habitat: 20 gallon tank that is very secure because they escape very easily
  • diet: corn snakes are carnivores, in captivity they often eat live or pre-frozen mice and rats. They only need to be fed once a week or every 10 days
  • temperament/behavior: docile, easy-going

Rodents/Rabbits that would make good pets

Guinea Pig –

  • Classification: mammalia
  • Lifespan: up to 8 years
  • Habitat: their cage should be at least 36’’L x 30’’W x 18’’H 
  • Diet: guinea pigs are herbivores. A well-balanced diet consists of guinea pig food pellets, timothy hay, fruits and vegetables 
  • temperament/behavior: easy-going, playful, friendly 

Rabbit – 

  • Classification: mammalia
  • Lifespan: around 10 years 
  • Habitat: above 4ft by 2ft 
  • Diet: a good rabbit diet should consist of hay, pellets, fruits and vegetables 
  • temperament/behavior: playful, easy-going, sometimes territorial or fearful

Rats – 

  • Classification: mammalia
  • Lifespan: around 2 ½ – 3 years 
  • Habitat: at least 12 by 24 inches for one rat 
  • Diet: rats can eat almost anything, but there are rat food pellets that are suppose to provide a balanced diet for rats 
  • temperament/behavior: smart, playful, friendly, 

Hamster – 

  • Classification: mammalia
  • Lifespan: they usually live around 2-3 years 
  • Habitat: at least a 10 gallon tank size 
  • Diet: hamster food pellets, fruits, and vegetables 
  • temperament/behavior: adventurous, nice, sometimes nippy

Gerbils – 

  • Classification: mammalia
  • Lifespan: on average they live 2-3 years, but can live up to 8 years 
  • Habitat: 12 x 24 inches and 12 inches tall 
  • Diet: rodent food pellets, fruits, and vegetables 
  • temperament/behavior: easy-going, tame with often handling


– Make a happy home for your pets. (2019, May 24). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.thesprucepets.com/

– Hamster care. (n.d.). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/adoption/hamster-care

– Pratt, A. (2021, February 22). Rabbit care: The complete guide. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://bunnylady.com/rabbit-care-guide/

– Guinea pig care & Facts: How to take care of a guinea pig. (2021, February 11). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/guinea-pig.html

– Stacy. (2021, February 16). The ultimate bearded dragon care guide for beginners. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://reptile.guide/bearded-dragon-care-guide/#Why-Do-Bearded-Dragons-Make-Good-Pets

– Sheppard, M. (2020, December 16). Molly fish 101: Care, TYPES, Food, Lifespan & More! Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.aquariumsource.com/molly-fish/

– Goldfish. (2021, March 02). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldfish

– How to take care of a goldfish. (2020, January 09). Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.petmd.com/fish/care/evr_fi_how-to-care-of-goldfish