Critters that basically take care of themselves.

By Jennifer King Lindley
Updated August 01, 2013
Stick insect
Brenda Anderson/Getty Images

Stick Insects

They’re probably already living in your bushes. Also, they typically don’t smell or bite, and kids should be able to handle them safely. Just put one in a container and give him fresh lettuce every two or three days.


Start with a ready-made ant farm (available at Every day, put in a drop of water; every two or three days, a few bits of fruit or vegetables. Done.

Sea Monkeys

Don’t let the cartoon crowns fool you: These brine shrimp expect no royal treatment. They eat powdered food weekly, devour algae (no jar cleaning required), and do neat tricks, like swim against a current and, ahem, mate. (Available at

Ready for a (slightly) bigger commitment? These low-maintenance pets are just the ticket.