ferret yawning

What’s The Best Pet For A Small Apartment or Flat? Top 12 List

Living in a small apartment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the company of your very own pet! There are plenty of amazing little creatures out there that thrive in small spaces and make very endearing pets.

Whether you’re a reptile lover or prefer something of the fluffier variety, here are 12 of the best animals that you can keep healthy and happy in a small apartment.

What’s The Best Pet For A Small Apartment?

If space is a concern when it comes to pet keeping, or you simply don’t have the time needed to take care of larger animals such as dogs, there are some things you should look for when choosing a pet:

  • Cage/tank size requirements
  • Feeding requirements
  • Solitary or social behaviour (if an animal is social, you may need a bigger cage to house a small group)
  • Exercise needs
  • Noise (it’s no fun listening to a hamster wheel squeak all night in your apartment, trust me)

When it comes down to it, there are plenty of small animals you can keep happy in a small space, just don’t forget to consider how much time is needed to socialise the animal as this is an important part of pet upbringing too.

Dwarf Hamsters

dwarf hamster walking on red background

We had to put dwarf hamsters at the top of this list, being a site all about hamsters!  Dwarf hamsters are amazing little pets and, as the name suggests, they are very small which is perfect for apartment living. You can keep a group of Roborovski hamsters in a relatively small cage thanks to the tiny size of animals!

An added benefit is that dwarf hamster care is really straightforward and definitely won’t break the bank. Dwarf hamsters can be rewarding little animals to care for and once tamed you can handle a hamster with ease.


grey gerbil in cage

Gerbils are social animals that love to burrow and explore in their cage. They can be really entertaining animals to watch! Like hamsters, gerbils don’t need a large cage. Gerbil owners usually find their pets a lot more active during the day when compared to Syrian hamsters.

It’s best to keep these animals in same sex groups, watching their playtime antics can be really fun. As gerbils absolutely love digging, it’s important to get a deep cage that has enough room for burrowing.


white and grey rat

Rats get a bad rep but they’re actually very loving animals that are more than capable of developing a relationship with their owner. Rats are usually easy to tame and will happily use you as a climbing frame when being handled!

Rats are usually most active at night and will appreciate plenty of fun cage accessories to explore and use for exercise. You should definitely consider rats if you’re looking for a fun new pet to take care of, there’s no reason to be scared!

Tropical Fish

platy fish

Tropical fish should not be overlooked when it comes to apartment living. A small fish tank can be picked up very cheaply if you go for second-hand and there are now some stunning species of fish available for as little as $5. Thanks, selective breeding!

Most people will probably expect goldfish to be included on this list but the truth is, goldfish need very large tanks to live a full life (40 gallons for a small pair) and create a lot of mess in their homes. They simply aren’t great beginner fish.

Instead, go for a hardy tropical fish species such as platies, guppies or mollies. These are all livebearer fish and with a simple setup you could actually breed these fish extremely easily. Just make sure you have somewhere for the fry to go!


Prefer something a little more exotic? There are a tonne of different reptiles that can thrive in relatively small sized terrariums. Geckos are one of the best options, particularly leopard geckos.

Leopard geckos are readily available and a come in a wide range of different colorations. They’re pretty easy to care for but you will need some form of heat and the braveness to feed small insects like crickets! Other good started geckos are crested geckos and house geckos.


pair of degus

You may not be familiar with Degus as they are a pretty uncommon rodent and may not be available in your local pet store. If you are lucky enough to live near a Degu store or breeder then seriously consider these guys as your next apartment pet.

Degus are slightly bigger than hamsters and much more social than Syrians. Better yet, they aren’t naturally nocturnal and will stay active during the day. This allows you to socialise with your pets during normal hours and really start to create a bond.


You may not have heard of the Chinchilla before but they are amazing little creatures and look like a big ball of fluff! They aren’t as widely available as the other animals on this list but, if you’re looking for a pet that’s a bit more unique, give Chinchillas a go.

These rodents are slightly larger than rats and hamsters so they require a larger cage (as well as lots of playtime outside their cage). They also aren’t massively keen on regular handling but they’re still very interesting to watch and make amusing little pets.

Ball Pythons

If you want a snake, ball pythons are one of the best choices for a beginner. There is a huge variety of ball python morphs available and you can check some of them out here. Ball pythons don’t grow to a point that they’re heavy and hard to handle but it is a good sized snake.

These really are beautiful animals and they aren’t very demanding to care for. You’ll need a good sized enclosure for these snakes to grow healthily but other than that they are one of the easiest snakes for a beginner.


Unfortunately lots of new bird-keepers jump in head first and end up with an animal that’s too large and too demanding. Instead, it’s best to go for a small bird such as a canary or budgie. A suitable bird cage won’t take up much space in your home at all.

These birds are usually timid at first but will quickly warm up to your presence with gentle handling. Keeping a bird may not be something you’ve considered but if you’re looking for a hands-off pet that has beautiful colors and doesn’t take up much space, why not give birds a shot?


ferret yawning

Ferrets are extremely active and social animals that make a great companion. They’re almost dog-like in the way they play and interact! To accommodate these energy levels, ferrets require a large cage and plenty of time outside to play. This means you’ll need to ferret-proof your home as these creatures get up to all sorts of mischief.

This is a more demanding animal that requires a lot of attention. If you’re looking for a pet that you can really create a relationship with, ferrets are probably the way to go – just make sure you have the extra time needed to look after one.

Guinea Pigs

A much loved pet around the world, guinea pigs love to be kept in small groups. You’ll often be able to hear a soft squeaking noise coming from your cage as the guineas talk to each other. You will need a large cage to house a small same-sex group.

Guinea pigs usually love to be handled and appreciate some time outside their cage to explore new areas. You can even create fun games for your guinea pigs to play, like this guinea pig maze on Amazon!


Look away arachnophobes! If an eight-legged friend is something you’re open to, tarantulas can make interesting little pets. You can study the behaviour of your pet, watch it create complicated web systems and even feed live food.

This definitely isn’t for the faint hearted but if you really are stuck for space, give tarantulas a shot. These spiders are known to prefer smaller spaces as it helps them feel safe and secure – tarantula homes really are tiny. Go for a beginner-friendly species and have fun caring for a truly unique animal.

That’s our top 12 pet ideas for a small apartment. Which animal do you like best? Remember to always do your own research before choosing a pet but hopefully this list has given you some inspiration to get started. If you’re interested in keeping a dwarf hamster, check out our care guides below.

Winter White hamster care guide.

Cambell’s dwarf hamster care guide.

Roborovski dwarf hamster care guide.