Generally, most college students are away from home and their pets for the first time, which may sometimes cause homesickness. The homesickness can get worse if you have a special attachment to pets. So, what can you do?

Well, you can have a pet by yourself while at college! But remember one thing. Before getting a pet, see the lists of pets allowed at off-campus housing or your dorm.

Best Pets for College Students

To deal with college life’s psychological and emotional vicissitudes, keeping a pet is recommended by experts for a healthy mind. Considering the students’ life restraints, keeping fish, birds, snakes, turtles, lizards, gerbils, and hamsters are common among students. 

These pets require small enclosures, have low prices and maintenance costs, and can stay alone for longer, helping you focus on your studies and routines.

Now, the question is, which pet is suitable for you? Let’s find out a friendly companion,

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For a college student, keeping a bird as a pet is perfect. Birds are low-maintenance and do not occupy much space. On top of it, birds are intelligent and easy to train. For instance, some birds can learn as many as 100 words.

Likewise, being low-budgeted, birds do not require much attention and time as dogs and cats do. Canaries, parakeets, cockatiels, and avians are some excellent species to have as pets. You can also have one from what is lovingly called “Birds of Paradise.”

A single large cage, with some food, water, and a few toys, would be more than enough for your pet bird.



Keeping fish as a pet is fantastic for a college student. I had a small aquarium in my room that housed three colorful fishes while I was at college. The best thing about fish is that they do not make any noise, are not demanding, and do not develop health issues as other pets may have.

Think about entering your dorm room after an exhausting and long day at college and seeing a multicolor creature swimming in front of your eyes in his small beautiful ocean! Would it not make you soothed and calm? Surely, it does!

If you want to have fish as a pet, visit your nearest fish shop, where you will have a plethora of options in front of you.

Some of the options that we have narrowed down include the following:

Like birds, fish are also low-budgeted and can live in smaller aquariums and even fish bowls.



Hamsters are delightful small animals that occupy a tiny place, and a simple cage would be enough to keep as a pet in your dorm room. Hamsters do not need any special diet or attention and can grow lonely.

But they are interactive, and you need to build trust and love and provide them with many toys.

Likewise, they become very friendly if you cuddle and give them enough attention and love. They can be toilet-trained and will pick a place to do their business.

One negative thing about them is that they have a shorter life span, around 2-3 years on average. With diligent care, some breeds may go on to live longer. There are many types of hamsters, some of them good for beginners. For example, Syrian hamsters are considered easy to train and handle, thus, suitable for college students.


turtle with a gift

If you need a pet that does not require any attention, lots of food, more space, and no long walks and still is adorable and affectionate, go for a low-budgeted turtle. However, prepare for a long-term commitment, as turtles live for around 40 years!

To keep a turtle as a pet in your dorm room, you will need a heat source, habitat, plants, and a source of UVB lighting. College students should take Red-eared sliders, the western painted turtle, and Mud turtles as they are beginner-friendly. While most turtles are friendly, the Red-eared slider is one of the most social species.

Guinea Pigs

guinea pig

If you miss your dog back at home, a Guinea pig is the best alternative for you as a cuddly buddy in college. Guinea Pigs are rodent species that belong to the family of Caviidae and live in herds, so you must keep at least two.

They can live in a variety of environments, including an enclosed one, so living in a dorm room is okay as long as you provide the basic necessities like pellet food, a water dish, grass, toys, Hay, and a hiding place in their cage.

Guinea pigs make a great option for first-time pet owners because they need very low maintenance. But before getting a guinea pig, you should know that it is only true for shorthaired guinea pigs like American guinea pigs and not about longhaired varieties. Long-haired guinea pig breeds such as Peruvian and Abysinnian have special grooming requirements and are only suitable for experienced owners.



If you are a hedgehog buddy, it is very convenient to keep a cute one in your dorm room. As they do not sleep at night so will not need more time and attention during the day. Hedgehogs are one of the best pets for college students as they are not too panicky about their diet; frozen bugs and worms are enough for them. You can also feed them meat-based cat or dog food.  

Moreover, you can keep your exotic pet in a regular cage with few toys, shelter, and a running wheel. The running wheel in the cage will keep your companion healthy and fit and will get you rid of the responsibility of taking it outdoors for walking and other activities.

One of their unique characteristics is that they become spikey whenever anything makes them surprised and frightened. Likewise, they do not require much attention and care, but they are shy animals, so they will take time to socialize and become loving and loyal buddies.


yellow snake

“Snakes? No way!” We hear you! But not all snakes are poisonous, and some types of snakes can be kept as pets. Corn snakes, Ball Python, and Smooth green snake breeds are some snakes that can be kept as pets.

They are one of the cheapest and easiest to maintain. What makes them the best pets for college students? They almost need no attention at all and require food only twice a week.

Snakes are perfect, even if you have a roommate, as they do not make noise. They eat insects and mice and can live in a tank with a water dish, logs, and dry flooring.


cute cat

If keeping a cat is allowed in your college as a pet, you should opt for a little kitten.

Cats are lovely and cutest animals. You can keep one in your dorm, as space does not matter much for cats. They can live in an 18 square feet area.

For a little kitten in your dorm room following materials are required

But what makes them so adorable?

Cats give unmatched love and friendship to their owners. You can adopt one from a pet store for around as low as $25, and it will accompany you for 15 years, at least if you maintain it well!



If you want to experience something exciting, you may consider going for Tarantulas.

It is frightening and scary, but once you learn how to treat and care for them, the exercise can become pretty amazing. Tarantulas are low-budgeted and very easy to handle as they do not need regular feeding—only once a week is fine. You can keep a Chilean rose as a pet.

They need a 10-gallon habitat, a light source, and bedding, and for eating different worms and cockroaches is enough. The lifespan of tarantulas is long and can give you a company for 30 years. Moreover, their price range is from 20 to 200 dollars.

That said, note that they are not regular pets that would cuddle with you—try not to touch them too often or play with tarantulas, as they get threatened and will bite you! Also, they do have toxic venom that causes local reactions, like a bee sting.  



If you are an overstretched, tight-on-budget college student, then a lizard is the best to keep as a pet because reptiles have a pleasing effect on a dorm room occupied with the gloomy shades of studies and books! You need to buy a tank and fill it with gravel, sand, and shells, and you have a perfect habitat for your cute little lizard.

Keeping lizards is easy because they do not need much space, cleaning, special diets, or maintenance. Buy a few bugs and leafy greens from a pet store, and you are free for weeks. There are many options available, such as one from the Leopard gecko family.

Other than the top 10 animals discussed above, you can also adopt one of the following given animals at college.

To sum up, the animals mentioned above are low-budgeted, low attention-seekers, and a bit more independent, which makes them best for college students. Did you find one for yourself?

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