Best Small Pets for College Students

While going to college is an exciting time for a young person, leaving their loyal and affectionate pet behind is the saddest and most difficult aspect of it all. Many colleges in the country have strict policies against pet ownership in the college premises. This rule especially applies to large animals like cats and dogs in shared living situations. However, some schools can be a little lenient and allow some leeway on the kinds of pets to keep in college.

Many people would discourage owning a pet while in college. They argue that pets need a lot of responsibility, time, and money to sustain them. This could consequently distract the students from their main agendas. Some, however, consider pet ownership a necessity for college students. They argue that having pets could help students with the emotional stability that is common among college students.

Small pets require some degree of care and responsibilities that you can provide them a comfortable and happy life. As a potential small pet owner, you have to weigh the options to figure out which small animal fits your personality, your finances and does not interfere with your college schedule or go against the school’s pet policies. Below we have outlined some of the best pet ideas that can survive in a college environment but still provide companionship through the hectic young adult stage of life. We have selected the following six animal varieties because they rank lower in the maintenance scale.

 

Fish

Many colleges have no qualms when their students opt to keep a fish as a pet within the school premises. They are a good pet option for college students for several reasons. First, fish are cheap to get and require minimum attention to care for them. Starter pets like the goldfish can comfortably live in small and clean containers that you could simply place on top of your reading table. You do not have to be constantly present to feed them. Some fish species such as the White Cloud Mountain Minnows thrive better when feeding them every few days.

Fish do not require the level of socialization that other pets would crave to stay healthy. This makes them especially ideal for the college student who is perpetually struggling to balance between school, owning a pet and their social lives. They do not require you to set aside some time to exercise or play with. You also get the chance to exercise your creative juices by decorating the fish tank to suit your personality. Fish are generally enjoyable to look at and fun to own.

If you decide to keep a fish as a college pet, you just have to ensure you clean their tank clean, feed them, regularly, and provide an interesting habitat for them to swim and play. If e regular freshwater fish, be very careful when replacing their water. Avoid tap water because it is usually chlorinated and can cause harm to the fish. For saltwater or tropical fish, you may have to include a water heater and a salt-sensitive gizmo to track the water’s salt levels to make sure your fish are healthy and comfortable.

 

Reptiles

Well, many people may not consider the reptilian species as great pet options. However, reptiles like snakes, turtles, and lizards can be lovely companions, especially to college students. They may not be as cute and cuddly as the pet rodents, but these scaly and shelled creatures can offer healthy companionship and entertainment.

Some people may consider caring for reptiles an easy task, but it is a venture that you should not take lightly. You have to thoroughly research and understand the reptile’s behaviors, preferred habitats, and ideal temperatures before you decide to purchase one. Each reptile has its own unique needs and drawbacks as pets and you need to familiarize yourself with all the necessary information.

If snakes fascinate you, consider getting the smaller species. Big snakes like pythons are high maintenance and more time-demanding. You have to take up some rather gruesome tasks such as heating frozen rats and other small rodents to feed the snake.

Reptiles like turtles require a total commitment on the owner’s part because they have a high life expectancy. Turtles also occupy a small living space, generally quiet and can nicely fit into an apartment or college dormitory. Feeding turtles is also relatively easy, as they only require a small amount of food daily.

Lizards can also make great pets for college students. They do not occupy a lot of space and are entertaining to watch. They may not live as long as the turtles but they are equally hard to feed. They mostly feed on small live insects like grasshoppers and crickets, which can be tricky to get. However, some species are easier to feed because they feed on plants exclusively.

If you can commit your time, attention, and resources to these strange creatures, reptiles can provide a very rewarding pet experience. Before getting a reptile pet, you first should probably ask if it is okay with your roommates if you share a room.

 

Insects

Many people would consider insects as bothersome creatures, which have no business being in anyone’s living space. However, some insect species would make great and easy-to-care-for pets. These include low maintenance and non-threating insects such as exotic cockroaches, crickets, millipedes, butterflies, and moths.

If you are a bug lover who is starting up a hobby or generally finds bugs exhilarating, the above-mentioned insects make great companions. They are low maintenance and do not require a lot of attention and care to survive. All they require is a clean container, preferably a terrarium, with plenty of shady corners for them to crawl into, some food, and water.

Many insects, especially cockroaches are social beings, so consider having more to keep each other company. If millipedes are the kind of insects that fascinate you, ensure you learn about the potentially toxic liquid that they secrete from their skin. Thus, you should always rinse your hands after handling these kinds of pets. If you are unsure of the level of toxicity of your insect companion, always consult experts in their field before taking it home with you.

 

 Arachnids {Spiders and Scorpions)

Just like with insects and reptiles, there are arachnids such as Scorpions and spiders that would make great pets for college students. Many people may not necessarily be open to the idea of sharing their living space with arachnids but they are surprisingly easy and low maintenance pets to own.

Arachnids such as the tarantulas and spiders are however not suitable for beginner pet owners. This is because they are very fragile and sting or bite when provoked. If spiders like tarantulas are the kinds of pets that tickle your fancy, you should thoroughly research on the different types of breeds and opt for the more docile members. Due to their bad reputation, taking care of pet arachnids may sound uncomfortable and dangerous but many pet arachnids are not necessarily dangerous to their owners.

 

Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs can make great companions while in college. These aquatic creatures are easy to obtain and take care of. They even eat typical human food. Therefore, that is a bonus to you as the pet owner, because you get to save up on food expenditure.

To keep a hermit crab as a pet, all you need is a small aquarium with sufficient room for them to move about. They are great for college students because they do not need a lot of maintenance, are generally docile creatures, and can easily fit in the college premises. Besides, they are cool pets and can help build your reputation in college as being an open-minded, daring, and responsible young adult.

 

 Hamsters 

These furry little creatures are also a great option for pets that you can keep in college. They do not require a lot of attention and can entertain themselves in their cages whenever you are out and about running errands in school. Whether you are out partying with friends, pulling an all-nighter at the library or left town for the weekend, you do not have to feel bad about leaving your hamster alone in the dorm room.

Hamsters are also fairly easy and cheap to purchase and require a small amount of money for upkeep to sustain them. These adorable little creatures are nocturnal, thus you cannot interfere with their normal lifestyle when you stay up late in the night.

If you are one of the lucky students who can manage to keep a pet while in college, you should probably consider keeping smaller animals as pets. These small animals are easier and cheaper to maintain, take up a small space, and require less attention than other pet options like dogs. They provide college students with an opportunity to form worthwhile relationships and develop a sense of responsibility as well as provide companionship in times of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.