Billions of people love living with animals. Their silly behaviors make us laugh, their companionship gives us unconditional love, and their dependence on us gives us a reason to get up in the morning. Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences a human can have, and it shows by just how many of us share our homes and lives with animals of many different kinds.
One of the many gifts that our pets give us is the lesson of responsibility. They depend on us to feed them, exercise them, and socialize with them, just to name a few. Having a pet can make even the most commitment-resistant person change their ways — it just becomes a way of life, and a wonderful one at that.
However. The one thing all pet owners can agree on is our dislike for cleaning up our animal companions’ poop. I mean, who in their right mind wants to scoop, shovel, or clean up poop? We do it because we love them, but that doesn’t mean we love the task itself. This is totally understandable, for the very fair reason that it’s disgusting! But we love our animals, so we deal. But do we have to, really?
If you’re fed up with poop duty or are looking for a new pet and dreading this part, you’ll be happy to know that there are pets out there that don’t poop very often. Yes, really! While no animal will ever be totally poop-free, you can find a companion that gives you a little more time between poop scoops. Ready to find out what they are? Keep reading!
1. Leopard Geckos
Leopard Geckos are amazing pets, and quite low maintenance compared to many other reptile species. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, otherwise known as “morphs,” and are incredibly beautiful. They’re nocturnal, so you won’t see much of them during the day, but once you acclimate them to being held, they’ll happily walk all over you (mine like to sit on people’s shoulders like little four-legged birds).
Babies will be shy at first and may take a while to get used to you, so don’t worry if they scream the first few times you pick them up — it can be quite a scary experience for new Leopard Gecko owners! When your Leopard Gecko reaches maturity, its eating schedule becomes less frequent, as does its need to poop.
Adult Leopard Geckos only need feeding every few days — twice a week or so — and they generally poop within 24 hours of eating. The cool thing about these guys is that they like to poop in one spot, making clean up much easier for you. I often compare them to cats for this reason; it’s like they make their own litter box right there in the corner!
Contrary to popular belief, snakes are not aggressive animals. While of course some are venomous and can be dangerous if circumstances warrant it, most pet snakes are the non-venomous kind and pose little to no threat to your safety. Handling your snakes regularly, providing them with proper housing, and keeping them well fed all contribute to happy snakes that are super fun to be around.
In their formative years, snakes do eat (and therefore, poop) more frequently. However, once past the juvenile stage, many snakes only eat once a week, with some species eating even less frequently than that. In fact, in the wild, many snake species go months at a time without eating, and it doesn’t affect their health at all. They’re experts on conserving energy (read: they sleep a LOT), so they can manage going without way better than most animals.
Considering the fact that they eat so infrequently, it only makes sense that snakes don’t poop very often. They’ll generally do their business within a couple days of their last meal. They may leave their droppings under their substrate layer, so it’s a good idea do give their habitat a once over every couple of days until you find it. There are poop scoops for reptiles, too, which make the cleanup even less of a hassle!
Turtles are adorable and can make great pets for the right people. They require a few specific conditions to stay healthy, but if you have the time to commit to their wellbeing, it’s well worth it. While they’re not super low maintenance for this reason, there are a few species of turtle that only poop every 3-4 days, making this part easier for you to handle, at least.
It might be harder to notice when your pet turtle poops, as they’ll generally do it in the water, making it easier for human eyes to miss. This is one of the reasons regular upkeep of their enclosures is important; to remove the poop and any other debris (uneaten food, for example) and keep their water fresh.
Turtles rely on clean water because this is where they spend most of their time, so contaminants or general dirtiness can damage their delicate health. It’s also important to provide them with climbing sources, adequate lighting, and a surface for basking, as they won’t be in the water all the time. This might seem like a lot at first, but once you get their routine down, turtles make great pets!
While they’re not everyone’s favorite for obvious reasons (arachnophobia, anyone?), tarantulas are more popular as pets than you might think. They’re generally quite mellow in temperament and are actually pretty easy to care for, with some species recommended as good starter pets for kids. With adult supervision, tarantulas can be super fun pets for the budding biologists out there!
Once fully mature, tarantulas eat every 7-10 days or so, which makes their upkeep pretty simple. This also means that their poop schedule follows along the same guidelines, so cleaning up after them is an infrequent chore that you likely won’t end up dreading like you might with a bird, for example.
Tarantulas also tend to poop away from the main areas of their enclosure, making it harder to spot when you clean out their quarters. This can be easily remedied, though; just sift or scoop through their substrate thoroughly or dump it all out and start fresh if that’s more your style. Either way, tarantula cleanup is simple, and you won’t have to do it too often once your arachnid friend is all grown up!
Ok, so admittedly, not all insects are infrequent poopers, and not all insects make good pets. But some of the coolest insect pets like Praying Mantis, Stick Insects, and others like them don’t eat every day. This helps to make their pooping schedules less regular than some other pets. However, if you get them as babies, this will not be the case — so just keep that in mind if you’re looking for an insect buddy.
Insect pets’ poop is also super tiny for the most part, making it extremely difficult to see in their enclosures. This is not an excuse to skip cleaning up after them, though! To make it easier on yourself, just change out their substrate regularly to keep their habitat nice and clean for them. This helps to keep them healthy and makes cleanup an easier task for you, so it’s a win-win.
As a clearer example, an adult Praying Mantis eats about twice a week. This means you can expect about 2 poops weekly, making them less frequent poopers than many other pets. If you’ve never had a Praying Mantis as a pet, I highly recommend them. It’s amazing to watch them transform through their life stages — as long as you don’t mind feeding them live bugs, that is!
6. Hermit Crabs
Both perplexing and adorable as can be, Hermit Crabs are also quite popular pets. I love watching them scurry around when I visit my local pet store and have seriously considered getting some on more than one occasion. It’s actually quite fascinating when you think about how they adapt to survive — quite the clever idea to borrow shells for protection!
While I can’t tell you exactly how often Hermit Crabs poop (they do their business in the privacy of their shell), I can tell you that they clear out their shells every 2-3 days. They’re actually quite organized: they push their poop out of the shell, then clean themselves in their enclosure’s water source! It’s actually quite civilized when you think about it!
Of course, keeping their water clean and even offering multiple sources is a good idea, along with scooping out their poops when you see them every couple of days. But if you think about it, you’ve got the easy job. The Hermit Crab does most of the heavy lifting for you, and with their tiny size, cleanup will be a breeze anyway. If you like pets that not only poop less often but also help clean up after themselves, a Hermit Crab might be perfect for you!
7. Jumping Spider
If a tarantula sounds too hairy and scary, a cute little jumping spider might be a better alternative.
Yes spiders do poop, but there waste may be so small it may not be immediately noticeable. Spider poop will look like bird poo except lots smaller.
The added benefit is spider poo is also not toxic. I still wouldn’t want spider droppings anywhere near me, however, according to research no pathogenic bacteria was found.
Every time your jumping spider looks like it needs its cage cleaned, get a damp tissue, kitchen towel or cloth and wipe away. No need to add any chemicals or disinfectants. Picking up spider poo is as simple as using a wet cloth.
Clean their closure every couple days when you feel it looks dirty. This is not a daily chore like having a cat or dog where you will have to clean up poo everyday.