Last Updated on: 27th September 2023, 09:27 am
Pet ownership isn’t always easy, especially if you live in an apartment or rent a home with a no-pets policy. The good news is some pets are small and quiet, making them ideal for almost any setting.
The smallest and quietest pets are reptiles, rodents, fish, and crustaceans.
Instead of barking or meowing, they express themselves through their behaviors. Ironically, the quietest pets for apartments are often nocturnal (night-active), like snakes, crabs, hamsters, and rats.
Some small and quiet pets are called ‘exotic’ because they’re from afar and uncommon pets.
What Are the Quietest Pets?
The quietest pets are reptiles, rodents, fish, and crustaceans. They don’t talk, and their squeaks and shuffles are quieter than your average pet.
The clear benefit of owning a quiet pet is getting a good night’s sleep. There’s no need to worry about it waking you (or the neighbors) up in the middle of the night.
When choosing a pet that’s quiet at night, you might instantly write off nocturnal (night-active) animals.
Intuitively, getting a diurnal (day-active) animal, like a tortoise, degu, dog, or guinea pig, seems better. After all, you’ll be on similar schedules, meaning you won’t be woken up in the middle of the night.
In truth, many of the smallest and quietest pets are nocturnal. For example, most snakes, lizards, and crabs are nocturnal; some rodents, like mice and rats, are also nocturnal.
Nocturnal doesn’t necessarily mean your pet can’t be quiet at night. If you choose an animal that’s quiet by nature (like a crab or snake), it’ll be quiet inside its enclosure, even at night. Also, there are things you can do to reduce night-time noise.
So, if you’re worried about getting a good night’s sleep, you shouldn’t rule out a nocturnal pet, as these can be some of the smallest and quietest animals.
Health Benefits of Owning a Small Pet
For a long time, we’ve known that dogs are good for pet owners’ health because they encourage daily exercise. Most small pets don’t need ‘walks,’ so can these pets still be good for our health?
The University of Exeter found that keeping fish and gazing into the aquarium reduces blood pressure, increases focus, and boosts well-being. This makes sense because something is calming about water.
Another study from TandF found that keeping pets (of all sizes) reduces loneliness because our pets keep us grounded and connected, no matter what’s occurring in our lives.
Perhaps one of the best things about small pets is they’re accessible. Not all small animals are easy to keep – finding the right small pet for your lifestyle is essential.
Quiet Indoor Pets
The following pets are a mixture of reptiles, rodents, fish, and crustaceans. They’re all uniquely rewarding pets with much to offer, so find out which one suits your lifestyle.
Although hamsters squeak occasionally, they’re not nearly as noisy as guinea pigs. Also, while hamsters are nocturnal, their night-time activities are unlikely to wake the neighbors.
You can do things to minimize the noise, like buying your hamster a silent exercise wheel.
Why are hamsters such great pets? Well, they’re cute, for starters. They’re also gentle, don’t need much space to thrive, and can live indoors comfortably.
Although omnivores, hamsters can thrive on a plant-based diet, making them eco-friendly pets. These cute little critters have an average life span of about 2 years, making them the ideal first pet for kids.
Hamsters don’t have the high-energy, boisterous personalities of other rodents like gerbils and guinea pigs, but they can be much noisier than hamsters. So, hamsters make the ideal quiet pet for apartments.
Although not soft and cuddly, hermit crabs make good pets. Quietness and tranquility are a big part of their charm. As an owner, you can peacefully watch your hermit crab crawl around its enclosure.
One of the most endearing things about hermit crabs is their distinctiveness from other crabs.
Hermit crabs crawl forward and backward instead of scuttling sideways. They also molt and renew multiple times throughout their 40-year lifespan, needing a new and larger shell each time they molt.
The hermit crab ticks those boxes if you’re looking for an unusual pet to intrigue and captivate you. For those with space in their apartment for a 20-liter tank, the hermit crab is ideal for a small home.
Fish are peaceful pets, and their serenity is transmitted to us as we watch them, leaving us calm and relaxed. Perhaps that’s why so many people love to keep fish as pets.
The Cory catfish is ideal if you’re new to fish ownership. Because its care requirements are minimal, it would be hard to harm this fish.
Cory catfish are pretty small, with somewhat translucent bodies – their tails almost blend into the water as they glide past. Many Cory catfish also have beautiful spotted patterns on their bodies.
Fish don’t make noise, though you should factor in the time and noise it would take to clean the tank (about once every 2 weeks). An aquarium filter may make very little noise, but you can minimize this by keeping it clean and servicing it regularly.
Small fish like Cory catfish need friends to feel safe, so you should keep a minimum of six, but these would easily fit in a 20-gallon tank.
If you like the idea of fish, but a 20-gallon tank is too big for your room, why not consider nano fish?
Nano fish still need to live in a group to feel safe, but since they’re so small, you could house them in a 5- or 10-liter tank, depending on the variety. They’re typically around 1-2 centimeters long.
The best thing about nano-fish is that they elicit the cute factor. According to neuroscience published in Frontiers, our brain produces many positive emotions when we witness something cute.
To protect our species, we’ve evolved to find human babies cute, so anything ‘baby-like’ (including baby animals) generates similar reactions in our brains.
Like their rodent friend, the hamster, they aren’t entirely silent as they’re curious creatures. That said, their squeaks are quiet, and you can set their cage up so noise is minimal.
Mice are very clever little animals that can learn tricks. They’re also friendly and sensitive creatures. An interesting article from Science found that mice may be capable of empathy.
In truth, empathy is difficult to define and measure, but the study found that mice experienced pain when they saw their cage mates going through pain.
Indeed, mice are very sociable animals, so they need to be housed with another mouse to stay healthy. Watching two mice play together can be fun, so you’ll never get bored.
In addition to the hermit crab, the Fidler crab is another excellent pet that’s small and makes minimal noise.
The male Fidler crab is a ‘storybook’ looking crab with a large claw resembling a fiddle (or violin). Fascinatingly, Fidler crabs raise and lower these claws to communicate with each other.
These crabs are very peaceful and can live in a relatively small tank, although providing the correct salinity level in their water is essential.
Like hamsters and rats, they don’t have a very long lifespan (approx. 1.5 years), so they can work well as a pet if your plans are uncertain.
Some people are afraid of rats, but they make rewarding pets. Once again, rats aren’t the quietest animals because they love to scurry and explore, but they’re quieter than a barking dog.
Rats are also among the most eco-friendly animals you can keep because accessories and grooming requirements are minimal, and most rat feeds are sustainable.
According to RSPCA, rats also have a short life span of about 2 years, so they can be ideal if you don’t want a pet that lives for many years.
Aside from hissing occasionally, corn snakes don’t make any noise.
Corn snakes are friendlier than other snakes, as they tolerate handling very well and are unlikely to bite. They’re medium-sized snakes that can be kept in smaller apartments and homes.
Corn snakes are the best’ starter snakes’ because they’re easy to take care of. However, you’ll need to get used to feeding snakes live or pre-killed animals, such as mice and rats.
The Shiba Inu only barks when it considers itself under serious threat.
This small-sized dog was bred as a hunting dog in Japan, although it has become a popular pet worldwide. It’s the ideal apartment pet because it’s quiet and prefers to stay clean.
Shiba Inu dogs are relatively independent, so they don’t become clingy. They’re good-natured, energetic, obedient, and loyal to their owners. They also have cute faces – like a cross between a fox and a bear.
Shiba Inu are wary of strangers and might bark when visitors come over. However, encouraging your visitors to greet your dog non-threateningly minimizes the chances of barking.
Shibas need a fair amount of exercise, so while they’re quiet dogs, they’re not low-maintenance pets. Also, they’re an expensive breed of dog.
Tortoises are diurnal (day-active), so you can observe their behavior during the day.
Some tortoises can grow to be very large, and some need outdoor space to be healthy. However, certain breeds like the Hermann’s tortoise or Russian tortoise stay small and can usually be kept indoors, ideally with occasional outdoor access.
A Hermann’s or Russian tortoise won’t grow more than 30 cm, so they can make an excellent indoor pet, although you’ll need to get a suitable tank or enclosure.
Getting their initial set-up can be expensive, and they can live for many decades. For this reason, tortoises aren’t suitable pets for everyone.
Are All Small Pets Low Maintenance?
While small pets (like rodents, fish, and reptiles) are often quieter than cats and dogs, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re low maintenance.
Reptiles and fish often have specific environmental conditions that need to be maintained, or they could become sick. Rodents also need regular stimulation and cage cleaning to stay healthy.
The truth is that all pets require investment and maintenance, so it’s vital to consider your options carefully before making a decision.
By carefully considering the noise level of different pets, you’re starting as a responsible pet owner.