Unconventional Pets

Leisure Pursuits

7980259_mPets are wonderful companions. Though dogs and cats are the most common variety, not everybody has the room for them. Thankfully there are a number of animal types that make excellent friends for any number of living situations. Here are a handful of favorites:


Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

Leopard geckos are one of the lowest maintenance lizards available as pets. As such, they work very well for first-time lizard owners. Since they stay relatively small (8-11 inches as adults) and can live up to 20 years, these reptiles are very popular in the United States. A leopard gecko’s terrarium can be relatively simple to setup and their diet consists of insects, which makes them affordable as well.

Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera)

While leopard geckos are relatively low maintenance, chinchillas are not – but they make up for it by being the most adorable animal on this list. Chinchillas are covered in a hypoallergenic fur and usually clean themselves by rolling around in dirt. Though they will need a terrarium, these rodents will require dental care, exercise, and temperature control to make the most of their 12+ years as your companion.

Hermit Crab (Coenobita compressus)

Typically a first-pet for children, hermit crabs are very easy to care for. The expensive part will be getting everything you need for their tank, including: water-conditioning fluid, safe sea salt, safe sand, hidey huts, extra shells, and more. These omnivores require both meats and plants to stay happy, but will move around enough that they can keep themselves in peak physical shape. There’s a lot of setting up to be done but when you get it right, these crustaceans can live for ten years or more as your new roommates.

9542953_mParakeet (Melopsittacus undulates)

The budgerigar is the most common type of pet parrot, but there are many, many types of parakeets are available as pets. Though they may be a high-maintenance pet, they also have the most personality (similar to dogs and cats). Each species has a different diet, but almost all of the nutritional requirements can be satisfied with a trip to the pet store. And, with a lifespan of 8-40 years, you’ll be spending a great deal of time with your fowl friend.

Looking for something a bit different? Perhaps you’d enjoy a bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Or, if you want your pet with a bit more edge, you may like the companionship of a corn snake (Elaphe guttata) or even a tarantula (Brachypelma smithi). Visit your local animal shelter or pet supply store to learn more about your new pal.