5 Best Pets for Students That Are Easy to Care For

By Alberto Roy

Updated on:

College life is a whirlwind of classes, studying, social activities, and perhaps even work. For many students, the idea of adding a pet into the mix may seem daunting. However, the right companion can bring comfort, reduce stress, and offer a delightful distraction from the rigors of academia.

The key is finding a pet that fits the student lifestyle – low maintenance, space-efficient, and relatively quiet. Here’s a list of the top 5 pets for students who check all these boxes.

1. Betta Fish

Betta fish require minimal care. A water change once a week, feeding every other day, and a decent-sized tank (at least a 2.5-gallon tank) are generally all they need. Their tanks can be placed on a desk or a shelf, making them perfect for dorm rooms or small apartments. Betta fish come in a variety of vibrant colors and have flowing fins that are a pleasure to watch.

Betta fish are also known for their solitary nature, meaning they often prefer to be the only fish in their tank. This makes them an ideal choice for those who aren’t looking to manage a community aquarium. Additionally, their graceful movements and interactive behavior can provide a calming effect, making them a perfect study companion.

Care Tips:

  • Avoid keeping male bettas together, as they can be aggressive towards each other.
  • Ensure the water is dechlorinated before adding it to the tank.
  • Keep the water temperature stable, ideally between 76-82°F (24-28°C), as drastic changes can stress the fish.
  • Add live or silk plants to the tank, giving the betta places to hide and reducing stress.
  • Monitor for signs of illness regularly, such as faded color or lethargy, and consult a vet or pet store expert if concerns arise.

For students juggling academics and pet care, resources like academized.com can be a lifesaver for handling assignments and essays. With the time saved using this service, students can ensure they give their new pets all the attention and care they deserve.

2. Hamsters

Hamsters are nocturnal, so they’ll be active during those late-night study sessions. A well-equipped cage with toys, a wheel, and hiding spots will keep them entertained. They’re soft and fun to handle, which can be a great stress-reliever.

Moreover, hamsters have distinct personalities and can become quite attached to their owners, recognizing them by scent and sound. Their small size and contained habitat mean they won’t require much space, making them a convenient choice for compact living areas. Observing their playful antics and curious nature can also serve as a delightful break from long hours of reading or writing.

Care Tips:

  • Opt for a spacious cage to give them room to play and explore.
  • Provide fresh food and water daily.
  • Regularly clean the cage to prevent buildup of waste and ensure a hygienic environment.
  • Offer a variety of toys and rotate them periodically to keep the hamster stimulated and prevent boredom.
  • Monitor their teeth as they continuously grow; providing wooden chew toys can help prevent overgrowth.

3. Air Plants (Tillandsia)

While not a traditional pet, these plants are living beings that students can nurture and enjoy. Air plants don’t require soil and get most of their nutrients from the air. They have an alien-like beauty that can jazz up any space. Taking care of plants has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood.

Engaging with these plants, whether it’s through misting, repositioning, or simply admiring them, can provide a therapeutic pause in a hectic day. Their resilience and adaptability are often symbolic, reminding students of their own strength during challenging academic times. Furthermore, their varied shapes, sizes, and textures can inspire creativity, making them an excellent choice for budding artists or those in need of visual stimulation.

Care Tips:

  • Mist them with water 2–3 times a week.
  • Ensure they’re placed in a spot with indirect sunlight.

4. Leopard Geckos

They make almost no noise, perfect for shared living spaces. A diet of insects, a heated pad, and a regular cleaning routine are mostly what they need. With proper care, they can live up to 15 years.

Leopard geckos also possess captivating, expressive eyes that many owners find endearing. Their docile nature makes them easy to handle, and over time, they can form a bond with their caregivers, recognizing and responding to them. The simplicity of their needs, paired with their unique charm, makes them a delightful and long-term companion for students.

Care Tips:

  • Make sure to provide hiding spots in their terrarium for comfort.
  • Handle them gently and regularly to maintain friendliness.

5. Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs can be quite active and fun to watch as they scuttle around and interact with their environment. A diet of commercial hermit crab food, supplemented with fruits and veggies, is generally sufficient. A medium-sized tank with sand, shells, and climbing toys can fit comfortably in most student accommodations.

Their intriguing behavior of swapping shells as they grow offers a firsthand look at a unique aspect of animal behavior.

Additionally, hermit crabs communicate using subtle chirping sounds, adding an interesting auditory element to their presence. While they might seem reclusive by nature, with time and gentle interaction, they can become more outgoing, offering students a rewarding pet-keeping experience.

Care Tips:

  • Maintain humidity in their tank to keep them comfortable.
  • Ensure they have a variety of shells to choose from as they grow.
  • Regularly clean the tank to prevent harmful bacterial buildup and ensure a healthy environment.
  • Isolate new hermit crabs for a short quarantine period before introducing them to an existing community to prevent potential disease spread.
  • Provide a shallow dish of saltwater alongside fresh water, as they need both to thrive.

Even with the packed schedules and tight spaces often come with student life, some pets can fit seamlessly into this lifestyle. From swimming fish to scuttling crabs, there’s a low-maintenance companion out there for every student.

Not only will these pets bring joy and companionship, but they’ll also provide a wonderful opportunity for students to learn responsibility and the joys of caretaking. So, why wait? Find your perfect college companion today!

Best Pets for Students

Choosing a pet as a student requires consideration of factors such as time availability, living arrangements, and the ability to meet the needs of the animal. Here are some pets that can be well-suited for students:

  1. Fish:
    • Fish, especially low-maintenance species like bettas or goldfish, can be ideal for students. A properly set up aquarium requires less daily interaction but still provides a visually appealing and relaxing presence.
  2. Small Rodents:
    • Hamsters, gerbils, or mice are small, relatively low-maintenance pets. They don’t require as much space as larger animals and can be interactive and entertaining.
  3. Reptiles:
    • Some reptiles, such as leopard geckos or corn snakes, can be suitable for students. They are generally low-maintenance and don’t require as much attention as more social animals.
  4. Cats:
    • Cats are independent animals that can adapt well to apartment living. They still require attention and care but are generally more self-sufficient than some other pets.
  5. Small Birds:
    • Birds like budgies or finches can make good pets for students. They are small, relatively low-maintenance, and can be interactive and entertaining.
  6. Rabbits:
    • Rabbits can be good companions, especially if they are kept indoors. They are social animals that can be litter trained, but they do require time and attention for proper care.
  7. Guinea Pigs:
    • Guinea pigs are social and relatively easy to care for. They enjoy interaction and can be a good choice for students who have a bit more time to devote to their pets.
  8. Low-Maintenance Dogs:
    • Some dog breeds are more adaptable to a student lifestyle. Smaller breeds or those with lower energy levels may be a good fit, provided the student has the time and commitment required for proper care.
  9. Hermit Crabs:
    • Hermit crabs are low-maintenance and don’t require a large living space. They can be interesting to observe and are relatively easy to care for.
  10. Terrarium Pets:
    • Animals like tarantulas or certain types of frogs can be kept in terrariums and require minimal interaction. These pets can be fascinating to observe but may not be suitable for those who seek more hands-on interaction.

When considering a pet as a student, it’s crucial to assess your schedule, living conditions, and ability to commit to the responsibilities of pet ownership. Regardless of the type of pet chosen, providing proper care, attention, and a loving environment is essential for the well-being of the animal. Additionally, adopting from shelters or rescue organizations is a compassionate choice that can provide a home for pets in need.


Tori Eslinger is a renowned veterinarian dedicated to educating the younger generation about animal care and health. Through her insightful articles tailored for students, she breaks down complex veterinary topics into easily digestible and relatable content. Many students credit Dr. Eslinger’s writings as their go-to resource for trusted pet care advice and knowledge.

"Passionate dog trainer with years of experience. Transforming pups into well-behaved companions through positive reinforcement and love. 🐾🐶"