6 Small pets that are a lot more work than you thought

Jan 6, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Image: Isabel Pavia/Moment Open/Getty Images

Small pets don't always mean small responsibilities. These pets are often thought to be low-maintenance, but they prove that some little guys are a whole lot of work.

1. Parrots

Image: D Coetzee/Flickr

Sure, it seems fun to bring in a bird that will mimic your every word. The commitment required is pretty crazy, though, when you consider that many parrots can live up to 80 years. Talk about a lifetime companion!

More: What exotic animals can you legally have as pets?

2. Ferrets

Image: Selbe Lynn/Flickr

These weasel-like animals are undoubtedly cute and can be quite affectionate, but they are far from easy pets. Ferrets need a lot of room to move around, so they need extremely large cages (larger than many of us actually have space for), and they need to spend at least four hours a day out of their cages. During those four hours, they need a lot of attention from you and will cause all sorts of havoc in your house if left unchecked.

3. Geckos and other lizards

Image: Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr

Sure, most lizards need only a small habitat to be happy and healthy. But did you know that those habitats need to be kept warm, usually between 75 and 85 degrees F during the day, and then cooled some at night? Pets with finicky preferences aren't usually as simple to care for as you thought they would be. If that isn't enough to drive you back to cats and dogs, then their taste for live insects and worms just might.

More: 11 Reasons you should consider getting a rat for a pet

4. Turtles

Image: Leandro Martinez/Flickr

Most turtles can grow to pretty large sizes, and they'll need aquariums that allow them to do just that. They'll also need the right lights, temperature and water filtration systems to thrive. And all that care is not short term — in fact, properly cared for turtles can live for decades.

5. Rabbits

Image: Daniel Hall/Flickr

Rabbits certainly are cuddly animals, but they need a lot more room than most people think. Rabbits need a cage that allows them to jump around, and they'll need plenty of time out of their cage to get some real exercise. Beware, because while they're out of your cage, they'll chew everything they can get their mouths on. They also need fresh veggies and a clean cage every single day. Rabbits also scare very easily, so they need a gentle touch and should not be kept in homes with small children.

More: 7 Reasons owning a cat is good for your health

6. Hamsters

Image: The.Rohit/Flickr

Hamsters are nocturnal, so while you're trying to get some shut-eye, they're running a marathon on a squeaky wheel. If you decide to bring home a hamster, keep the cage far away from bedrooms. Also, be very careful to not bring home a male and a female. Their gestation period is a mere two weeks, and you'll go from two hamsters to 30 or more in just a few months.

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