In the interest of delivering the best information, I believe we need to first define what an "outdoor pet" is. An outdoor pet is typically an animal that is kept outside as a pet. But wild animals that you might try to keep as pets are completely different.
For example, a fish is an outdoor animal, but its tank is rarely kept outside. If raised as a pet, it is much more common to find a fish living indoors. On the other hand, a chicken is a pet that is usually kept outdoors.
Which Pets Can Survive Outdoors?
Low-Maintenance Outdoor Pets
Outdoor fish are simple to care for. All they need is water, sunlight, and food. If kept properly, they can be great pets. The only downside to keeping fish outdoors is that their living area needs a lot of maintenance (cleaning pumps, ponds, etc.). On the other hand, they only need to be fed once a day, cleaned once a month, and after initially setting up the tank, they don't need the constant attention that other animals may require.
Keeping fish indoors is another great way to enjoy the pet. Instead of having a pond or fountain, you simply set up a low-maintenance tank in your home and fill it with your favorite fish. Rather than choose an exotic saltwater fish, go with an easily cared for tropical fish. Once you set up the tank, the fish will provide you with endless hours of fun, and they only need to be fed once a day. Be sure that if you are interested in a low-maintenance fish that you are choosing the correct fish family. Also keep in mind that the more fish you keep in your tank, the more you have to clean it out each month.
In my opinion, cats are best kept outdoors. I only recommend doing this if you own your own land or live in a rural area. You should not let your cat(s) run rampant through your neighborhood. But, if you do live on a farm, or outside of the city limits, cats pretty low-maintenance. They do not require elaborate housing, just a warm place to take shelter from the weather. They simply require food and water, and are usually pretty happy chasing mice and the likes around outside. Furthermore, as long as you place a flea collar on the cat, it can be allowed to roam with no problems. Cats enjoy independence and will be more comfortable coming to you rather than being forced to constantly be by your side as indoor companions.
There are many different types of snakes to consider keeping. Smaller-sized snakes are usually low-maintenance. If you are planning on keeping a 30-foot boa constrictor, obviously the maintenance is going to be a little more demanding.
Snakes require sunlight, heat, shelter, food, and water. Their feeding habits are very particular, so before you acquire a pet snake, learn how to feed it, what to feed it, and how much to feed it. I also recommend against getting any kind of poisonous snake unless you are a professional.
These reptiles make great low-maintenance pets, and can be kept indoors or outdoors. The best lizard to think about getting is a bearded dragon or a gecko. They have great personalities, and they are very hardy and tolerant to quick change. In fact, these fascinating creatures regenerate lost, broken, or damaged body parts. Lizards are the best pets for those who are new to pet-keeping because they're very simple to care for. They are very loyal, curious, and naturally love to explore, so they do require a particular environment or habitat to live in.
It is obvious that birds are outdoor animals, but when people keep them as pets, they are usually confined to a cage indoors. Considering that birds need to be able to fly and interact with other birds in order to maintain happiness, they do require a lot of attention, otherwise they can become withdrawn, depressed, and even mean.
The best way to keep a bird as a low-maintenance pet is to place it in an outdoor sanctuary where it can be in its natural environment. Here, it can fly around to exercise, as well as tweet away in the morning with the rest of its species. Building a sanctuary is no easy undertaking, however, once it is set up, the birds require very little maintenance. It is important to note that keeping birds outdoors is only acceptable in appropriate climates.
Rabbits are very low-maintenance, requiring only food, shelter, and water. You can keep it in a cage, and let it hop around in the yard 4 times a week. You do not have to keep them inside (unless it is too cold). They're also small, gentle, and easy to clean up after.
Mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. make great low-maintenance pets and can be kept as indoor pets or outdoor pets, provided they have the appropriate conditions in their cage.
Chinchillas usually like to be kept alone or in pods of 2 or less. They are best kept in large indoor cages and require weekly feeding and watering. They are a great pet to keep if you have little time to care for an animal. The chinchilla is very similar to a rabbit and can even be allowed to roam around your home if you don't mind them nibbling on things they find. Like rabbits, they are small, soft, and also great with kids.
In Mexico, people keep them as pets similar to the way we keep dogs in the U.S. There are a few reasons why chickens make great outdoor pets. They require very little interaction, they only need to be fed once every other day, they can find they're own food and water, and they do not need shelter. Chickens that are kept alone and cared for properly are extremely loyal. They can be a great companion, and will usually great you in the morning with a song and dance. They also do a great job of chasing off unwanted critters and providing you with fresh eggs!
Bugs usually require little food and water, and can be kept in small containers. Ants are a great idea, especially for kids. An ant farm requires almost no maintenance at all.
These fascinating animals make great outdoor pets, but require an appropriate habitat. They thrive in dry and warm environments, but require lots of water and fruits to keep them hydrated.
There is no such thing as a pet that requires absolutely zero maintenance. It is inappropriate to consider keeping a living thing if you are unwilling or unable to spend time with it. Any animal, reptile, or insect kept as a pet should be cared for at least once a day. A good rule of thumb is to try to spend an hour a day with your pet. This list suggests animals that require little maintenance, but you must still give your pets a sufficient amount of care and attention. It's also important to consider your environment. If you live in a busy city or somewhere cold, the tips above may not apply to you and you could harm an animal if you keep it outside. It is best to consult with an animal specialist before making a decision on which pet to keep.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Kel on August 29, 2020:
This is severely misinformed, especially the part about rabbits. They should not be kept outside and they are definitely NOT low maintenance pets.
C on June 19, 2020:
Literally nothing on this list can be kept outside besides chickens; fish, insects, and birds too if you live in Florida. Rabbits? No. Rodents? Definitely no. Cats? No. Reptiles? Heck no!
MizDizzyMizzy1963 on May 25, 2019:
Whoever wrote this article is completely misinformed at least & outright wrong at best. NO pet is completely low maintenance. Why? Because pets are living, breathing creatures with needs that need to be met. The author comes across like, "run to the pet store, pick up one of the creatures on the list, throw it in the backyard & forget about it."
How would the author like that if he/she were treated so callously?
This is completely irresponsible & I BEG readers considering getting a pet to NOT rely on what this "genius" says, but rather be a responsible (compassionate) human being by doing the right thing & doing research/homework on whatever pet you are considering. The internet (NOT this article) is easy, a great source of information. You can talk to pet stores, breeders, veterinarians, family, friends, etc, to hopefully find a pet that best fits your lifestyle. But please, please, PLEASE do not get a pet & dump it in the yard & pay attention to it only when you have nothing better to do.
One thing that really bothered me about this article was the author claimed that cats make great outdoor pets. Maybe it's OK to let them out for a while, but living outside 24/7? I think not. Think of how many cats get hit by cars every day. Then, there are predators: dogs, larger animals such as coyotes, wolves, Bobcats, mountain lions, hawks, falcons etc. I'm not talking about living in the country. I live in suburban Los Angeles, in the flatlands...no hills, no wide open spaces, but the suburbs. So much of our wilderness areas have been taken away from wildlife as a result of overdevelopement, these poor animals have nowhere to go in their search for food, water & shelter BUT into developed areas. My city has had several public meetings about coyote infestations recently. These coyotes are eating people's cats & smaller dogs, chickens, etc...you know, outdoor pets. There is NO way I would keep ANY animal outside.
Then, there are just the irresponsible, inconsiderate pet owners to contend with. We recently moved into the back house of a tri-plex with a very nice back yard. One or more of the homeowners behind us appear to have 3 cats that are outside ALL the time & seem to live in my backyard. I have 2 small dogs: A purebred Yorkshire Terrier & a Chihuahua/Corgi mix. These cats torment my dogs all day long, either by them lying in my yard, then jumping over the fence when the dogs are in the yard, or just by sitting on the fence, taunting them. My Yorkie isn't much bothered by them as she has been well socialized with cats. The Chi-Corgi is a whole other story. She absolutely hates cats. She has come close to catching one or more on several occasions. It's gotten to the point that I'm so afraid she will catch one & kill it that she is only allowed in the yard to potty then she has to come right back in because she will bark non-stop at these cats. Sometimes, she refuses to come when called because she's too preoccupied with barking at the cats. I'm also afraid the neighbors will complain about the noise. I can't figure out who these cats belong to. I know they aren't feral...they look too well-fed & have collars, so I know they belong to someone. I'm just afraid my dog will get hold of one some day & I'll have an angry cat owner on my case, even though my dogs are in their own fenced yard: licensed, vaccinated, etc. It's a shame that people own cats & allow then to run free without any respect for the animal or other people, which is the type of mentality the author of this article is perpetuating.
Bottom line: if you want a pet that doesn't require any maintenance and or attention, do yourself AND the animal a favor: DON'T get one! Or at the very least, get an animatronic or virtual pet.
B on April 25, 2019:
Attention to any new pet keepers in the hobby: this article is TOTALLY WRONG about turtles, fish, lizards, and snakes. I myself have all of these animals and this article makes it seem like every species is the same. Sure, you can keep reptiles in outdoor enclosures. I have a few outside myself but I live in a place where it is almost never below 65 degrees all year. This page also says lizards are extremely loyal...a dog is loyal...not a lizard. Lizards like iguanas and monitors will come up to you and they will let you hold them but it’s not because they are loyal it’s because they want food or a scratch. And some lizards only have the power to regrow their tails not all body parts. Whoever wrote this article is the problem with this hobby. You tell people lizards don’t need a particular environment or that all turtles love being on dry land. The person that wrote this article obviously has never kept animals before because garuntee you that if you keep a rock iguana in 40 degree outdoor temps it will die. Or if you keep a side neck turtle in a desert enclosure it will die. Or if you, as the author, think a freaking tropical bird like an African Grey or a Macaw is a low maintenance pet then you are very wrong my friend. And guys I don’t suggest keeping any fish Outside unless it is goldfish, koi, or some sort of molly unless you are expierinced and have the right equipment. The tropical fish you usually see in the pet stores (cichlids, tetras, catfishes, etc) require warm water temps many times in the 75 degree F range and that cannot be achieved in colder climates. I guess what I am trying to say is please don’t read this article as a beginner and think this is all that you need to read. Please do more research. Watch videos like Racheal O’Leary, The Bio Dude, King of DIY. Because honestly this is a disgusting excuse for an article and I am sure my fellow animal keepers/lovers will agree.
ewerhfggdfsgk on February 18, 2019:
rabbis are NOT "very low-maintenance" at all if they go as little as 12 hours with out food the will die. they need fresh greens every day at least an hour out side their enclosure and are sensitive to temperature. they should be strictly inside pets.
Elleth on September 28, 2018:
The information about rabbits is absolutely misleading. They require much much more time and attention. You will never get to know your bunny like this. Absolutely never. The get lonely, bored and depressed when they are kept in cages outside
Kristin Patrick on August 24, 2018:
Those pets are cool and good i like the website
Lauren on October 02, 2017:
info about chinchillas is totally wrong, being a chinchilla owner for many years now I can inform you that this is bullshit. please please please look for you information elsewhere.
a kid on July 18, 2017:
i realy want a pet that can live in the house but not in a cage all the time
animallover on October 25, 2016:
Um, have you thought about how cold these poor animals will get in Winter. Also, as a gecko owner, I know you most certainly CAN NOT keep them outdoors! Rabbits CAN NOT just be caged and visited 4 times a week! That is complete RUBBISH!!!
Amanda on June 13, 2016:
Not one of these pets are low maintenance and deserve at least 2 hours interaction and exercise per day.
reptor on February 08, 2016:
30 foot boa wow I'd love to see one of these dog need more socializing than your info has stated I have find in my opinion that working dogs suit the outdoor lifestyle as I have four my self I keep them in twos as they are pack animals but have 2 other heated pens in case there a problem witch I ain't had in 5 years an they seem to enjoy it my dogs are out of that pen for at least 6/7 hours a night if it just wondering the yard or working or there just sitting in the garage with me but there never left long periods of time with out human contact
Random on January 30, 2016:
Chickens are the best bet
Lori on February 12, 2015:
dogs are a pack animal and certainly need more than simply a daily visit. how sad.....
FishAreFriends from Colorado on August 16, 2011:
Nice Hub! I don't have any outdoor pets now, and most on the list would some inside during our cold colorado winters anyways... I like the organization of this hub.