Funky Pets for College Students


A Chinese Water Dragon could make an amazing pet!

In every child’s life, there comes a point where they decide they want a pet, most often a puppy or a kitten. Some parents use this as an opportunity to teach their child about responsibility, and those lessons are still applicable to a college student. 

Moving away from home and into a college dorm/apartment is the first step to adult independence, and caring for a pet is a great way to inspire responsibility.

College Pets in America 

 Most universities don’t allow pets in the dorms unless it’s a registered service animal. There are some adorable alternative pets that are dorm-friendly in most of America, but unfortunately, Delta State Univ. has a no-pet policy

Universities across the United States allow students to have a wide variety of pets. Popsugar states the most popular campus pets are fish, turtles, lizards, snakes, hermit crabs, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, fancy mice and birds. Each of these pets can be a source of stability for a student and offer emotional support through tough times, like exam season.

Types of Animals and Their Requirements

There are different enclosures and diets these animals need to live full, happy lives. Here are some of the benefits and requirements of these pets as stated on  

  • Fish- A great option for someone seeking a soothing, noninvasive pet. They require an aquarium of at least 20 gallons, enrichment, LED lights, and fish food.
  • Turtles- Also a great quiet, calm option that provides excellent companionship. They need a minimum of a 29-gallon tank with an area to rest on above water and a UVA/UVB bulb for their bone strength.
  • Lizards- There are so many different types of lizards and they are each unique and adorable little pets. They are pretty low maintenance but do require around a 20-gallon tank, they eat insects and leafy greens, and they need to be warm all day with an electric heat rock or something similar.
  • Snakes- Another cool reptile that is extremely low maintenance. They do need to be mouse fed (live or not), live in a 20-gallon enclosure that is also temperature controlled to be warm.
  • Hermit Crabs- Another quiet and low maintenance option. These guys need about a 5-gallon tank, crab food, and new shells to grow into.
  • Hamsters/Guinea Pigs/Fancy Mice-These are all pretty similar and require most of the same things, such as a multi-level habitat with a solid bottom and some form of bedding, a solid wheel, enrichment, their diets are also similar with different food pellets for each rodent. They are lovely, sociable creatures who love to explore. 
  • Rabbits- These pets make loving companions, who bond with their owners fairly quickly. They are easily litter-box trained and require a habitat at least four times their size. Their diet is fruits, vegetables, food pellets and hay.
  • Chinchillas- Are very sweet, soft pets who are often very playful and cuddly. Their habitats need to be at least 4’x 4’x 3’ with a place for them to bathe in dust.
  • Birds- Very intelligent creatures that make wonderful, sweet companions. They don’t take up too much space with a cage at least twice their small size. They need enrichment, birdseed, and company.

Alternatives to Animals

Delta State Univ. doesn’t allow any non-service pets in the dorms, but there are even some options for companionship here. For plant-lovers, a great option is a moss ball. Moss balls are technically living creatures that you take care of like a plant. They live in water and do not take up much space.

Rescue a Pet

It is important to do your own research before getting a pet and to fully prepare taking care of a living being. Once you’ve decided to adopt, you can begin to shop. Visit different pet stores and find an animal that speaks to you. You can give it the best life you can. 

There are two animal shelters in Cleveland, The Bolivar-County Animal Shelter and Pawprints Rescue Center. A rescued animal knows when it’s been saved and will appreciate its owner for giving it a furever home.