7 Low-Maintenance Pets for Busy People

Goldfish being fed by a male child and male senior
Small fish tanks may make great options for senior citizens

Getty Images/KidStock

There are many benefits of having a pet but if you have limited time to care for one, you may not think they are an option for you. Thankfully, there are many types of pets that don't require a lot of time and energy to care for. These pets are small, quiet, and often don't need to be handled or even fed every day to thrive. They are truly low-maintenance but still better than a pet rock or plant. The following ten low-maintenance pets can make perfect companions for people with busy schedules or someone who isn't ready to make a larger time commitment.


Some pets on this list require more set-up than others but once a habitat is established, the maintenance is very low.

  • 01 of 07

    Pet Freshwater Fish

    Betta fish profile
    Betta fish are colorful but low maintenance pet options. Photo © CCAC North Library

    When many people think of a low maintenance pet, they often think of a goldfish. Goldfish are one type of freshwater fish but bettas, guppies, neon tetras, mollies, platys, and zebrafish are all great options if you don't want to spend too much time caring for a pet. Keeping the water clean and feeding your fish are the biggest maintenance chores for these pets.

    Species Overview

    Length: Variable with goldfish being up to 14 inches and smaller freshwater fish being as small as 1-2 inches long

    Weight: Variable

    Physical Characteristics: Variable

  • 02 of 07

    Pet Frogs

    Dwarf clawed frog
    Dwarf clawed frogs are some of the smallest types of pet frogs. James Gathany/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    There are a few types of frogs that are kept as pets, and many are low-maintenance. Pet frogs don't take up much space and are easy to care for. Some frogs are more like fish and spend their lives in water while others are terrestrial or arboreal and spend their time on land or in trees. They eat insects and don't need to be handled so you don't have to worry about spending time cutting up fruit or vegetables to feed or giving them much attention. The tricky part about owning frogs is their environment needs to be kept similar to where they originate from.

    Species Overview

    Length: Variable with some species being as small as 1 inch and others as large as 10 inches

    Weight: Variable depending on the species

    Physical Characteristics: Different species of frogs come in different colors

  • 03 of 07

    Pet Land Hermit Crabs

    Hermit crab
    Hermit crabs require very little daily maintenance. Pablo Zgraggen / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Hermit crabs are almost as quiet as a pet rock but are still pretty low-maintenance pets. Like most other pets, enclosure cleaning is the most time consuming part of their care but this is only on an occasional basis for a hermit crab. Access to fresh water and food, shell options, and a little warmth can keep these crabs happy.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 6 inches but are usually smaller

    Weight: Up to 600 grams but typically less

    Physical Characteristics: Bodies are shades of cream, brown, orange and red but the shells will change throughout the crab's life

  • 04 of 07

    Pet Tarantulas

    Mexican Red Rump tarantula
    These spiders burrow in the ground and often live in close proximity to other spiders.

     Getty Images/Danita Delimont

    While not the ideal pet for everyone, tarantulas are super low-maintenance. Tarantulas don't need much space, make no noise, and usually only need to be fed once a week. They can live to be in their 30s and only require occasional substrate changes.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to an 11 inch leg span but usually between 5 and 8 inches

    Weight: Between 1 and 3 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Depending on the species, varying shades of brown, black, orange, white, green, blue, red, and dark purple are displayed alongside some color patterns

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Pet Leopard Geckos

    Leopard gecko on a rock licking itself.
    Leopard geckos have beautiful colors and patterns.

    Getty Images/GK Hart/Vikki Hart

    If you're looking for a somewhat low-maintenance lizard, look no further than the leopard gecko. These are hardy lizards that can live a long time plus they come in awesome colors and patterns. It's no wonder they are popular with both new and seasoned reptile owners. A little heat, humidity, and a variety of gut-loaded insects with supplementation are the primary needs of these small geckos.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 8 inches

    Weight: Usually between 50 and 80 grams but larger geckos can weigh up to 120 grams

    Physical Characteristics: Traditionally yellow and orange with black markings but varying shades of white, orange, red, black, yellow, and even purple hues will be seen. Patterns commonly include spots and stripes with bands of alternating colors

  • 06 of 07

    Pet Corn Snakes

    Corn Snake from the Lower Florida Keys
    Corn snakes make great low maintenance pets. Nathan Shepard / Getty Images

    Many snakes make great low-maintenance pets, but corn snakes are docile and don't get super large so they are a popular choice. A basic snake set-up with a heat light and screened lid is needed to keep this species warm and secure but an adult corn snake only needs to be fed a few times a month. Occasionally the substrate will need to be changed and water should be kept clean and fresh.

    Species Overview

    Length: 2.5 to 4 feet long on average; occasionally up to 6 feet long

    Weight: 1-3 lbs

    Physical Characteristics: Slender snakes that can have red, orange, cream, white, yellow, black and/or brown markings

  • 07 of 07

    Pet Canaries

    golden canary
    Canaries are low maintenance birds. Dave Lewis / Getty Images

    While lower maintenance than other birds, canaries still require regular cleanings and feedings so they are a little more work than some other low-maintenance pets. Fresh water and food should be provided daily and regular cage cleanings will be needed to keep a canary healthy, but they aren't as demanding as other birds. If you're looking for a low-maintenance bird, a canary is the perfect answer.

    Species Overview

    Length: Less than 5 inches long

    Weight: Less than 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Males are brighter than females but both can come in reds, oranges, yellows, and browns with green and white markings