The Cost Of Owning A Chinchilla
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Few pets are as adorable as the chinchilla. Fluffy little balls of fur, chinchillas make unique and entertaining pets, but they can be a bit of a challenge at times.
The chinchilla is very different from traditional pets like cats and dogs, so you’ll need to do your research before you get one. Not only do you need to understand this pet’s unique needs and requirements, but you’ll have to think about the cost to purchase one and outfit its cage properly.
Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to keep a pet chinchilla.
Bringing Home a New Chinchilla – One-Time Costs
Before you bring home any new pet, it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into. Chinchillas are certainly not the most high-maintenance pet out there, but they do have some specific requirements in terms of diet and housing.
The biggest thing you need to think about before getting a chinchilla is whether you can afford it. Not only do you need to buy the chinchilla itself, but its cage as well as the necessary accessories.
Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet chinchillas:
Buying a Chinchilla
The cost to purchase a chinchilla varies greatly depending where you go. You’ll also find some differences in price depending on the color and age of your new pet.
You should also consider that chinchillas generally do best when kept in pairs, though you should avoid keeping a male and female together unless you plan to have them altered. Two chinchillas will increase your startup costs.
In the pet store, you can expect to pay $75 to $150 for a chinchilla. This is generally for the standard grey color. If you want another color, you may need to go to a breeder.
Here are some of the most popular pet chinchilla colors:
- Standard grey
- Black velvet
- Ebony white
Different colors have different prices associated with them with the rarer colors being more expensive than the standard grey. You’ll most likely need to go to a breeder to find one of these.
Another option to find a chinchilla is to adopt one. You may be able to find them in your local shelter or you can contact a chinchilla or small animal rescue. Adopt fees vary, but generally start around $50 and may or may not include the chinchilla’s enclosure.
Chinchilla Cost by Color
|Color||Average Cost (Low)||Average Cost (High)|
Supplies and Setup
The chinchilla is a very active animal, so these pets require a large cage with multiple levels for them to climb. It’s a good idea to have your chinchilla cage setup before you bring him home so it’s ready to go.
Because chinchillas require a large, multi-level cage, you should expect to spend a minimum of $100. The actual price will vary depending on the size and the materials you choose, but it could go as high as $300 if you choose something high-quality.
In addition to the cage itself, you’ll need certain accessories.
The right chinchilla bedding will help keep the cage clean and dry, absorbing waste and controlling odor. Choose something natural and non-toxic. You’ll also need to provide your chinchilla with a place to take dust baths, so factor this cost addition to the cost of your bedding.
Other accessories you’ll need include an assortment of chinchilla toys, food bowls, water bottles, places for your chinchilla to hide and sleep, and the necessary cleaning supplies.
You’ll also need to stock up on your first month’s supply of chinchilla food and hay.
The final startup cost to consider is the cost to take your chinchilla in for his first vet visit. You’ll most likely need to find an exotics vet and should expect to pay $40 to $65 for the visit.
Chinchillas don’t require vaccinations, but if your vet recommends blood work or other tests, it could cost more.
Chinchilla Supplies and Setup
|Cost Type||Average Cost (Low)||Average Cost (High)|
|Food, Dust, and Bedding||$25||$75|
|Initial Vet Visit||$40||$65|
|Total = $215 to $755 (without spay/neuter)|
Cost of Chinchilla Ownership – Annual Expense Breakdown
Once you’ve purchased your chinchilla and set up his enclosure, most of your financial obligations have been satisfied. Even then, however, you have to think about ongoing costs.
The biggest cost to keep your chinchilla will be the cost to feed him. You’ll also need to think about recurring monthly expenses for bedding, dust baths, and replacements for things like toys. Don’t forget about veterinary expenses as well, though they may not be monthly.
Here’s what you need to know about annual costs for pet chinchillas:
Annual Medical Expenses
Take your chinchilla to the vet within a few weeks of bringing him home for his initial visit. Your vet may recommend blood work and other tests, but they are generally not necessary unless he has a problem.
From there, you’ll want to take your chinchilla in on an annual basis. Regular vet visits help you monitor your pet’s health so you can identify problems in the early stages when they are still treatable.
Here are some of the health problems to which chinchillas are prone:
- Respiratory disease
- Impacted teeth
- Gastrointestinal stasis
- Skin problems
- Heat stroke
Chinchillas don’t require any annual vaccinations, but they may need the occasional treatment for things like external parasites, worms, or other issues. You can expect to spend about $15 per treatment, though your pet won’t need them all the time.
If your chinchilla gets sick and you can’t see your regular vet, you may need to go to an emergency clinic. This can cost upwards of $200, so it’s a good idea to have some savings in case your pet needs to go.
Estimated Medical Costs for Chinchillas
|Cost Type||Frequency||Average Cost|
|Veterinary Checkup||Annual||$40 to $65|
|Blood Work and Other Tests||Occasional||$100 and up|
|Flea, Tick, and Worm Treatments||Occasional||$15|
|Emergency Expenses||Occasional||$200 and up|
Food and Supplies
Your chinchilla requires a high-fiber diet. This is primarily accomplished with commercial chinchilla food and fresh hay mixed with fresh veggies and other treats.
Feed your chinchilla about 2 tablespoons of pellets per day to meet his basic nutritional requirements. You’ll only spend about $10 for a bag of food, and it may last you several months. Just don’t buy too much at once or it may go bad before you can use it.
Supplement your chinchilla’s diet with fresh grass hay like timothy or orchard grass. Hay is a little more expensive than pellets and it should be fresh.
On top of the cost to feed your chinchilla, you’ll need to replace his bedding and dust.
You should clean your chinchilla’s cage once a week and spot clean in between as needed. The cost for bedding varies depending what type you choose – just be sure to avoid pine and cedar because these contain oils which can be harmful to your pet.
Chinchillas take dust baths to absorb the excess oils produced in their skin. Your chinchilla may bathe several times a week, so you might have to buy dust more than once a month.
In addition to these costs, factor in the cost for replacements of toys and other supplies. It doesn’t hurt to save an extra $5 or $10 a month, just so you have it when you need it.
Also Read: What Do Chinchillas Eat?
Food and Supply Costs for Chinchillas
|Cost Type||Frequency||Average Cost|
|Food and Hay||Monthly||$15 to $30|
|Bedding||Monthly||$10 to $15|
|Dust||Monthly||$5 to $10|
|Additional Supplies||Monthly||$5 to $10|
|Total = $35 to $65|
Total Annual Cost of Owning a Chinchilla
Being a pet owner requires a certain degree of commitment – unless you can keep your chinchilla healthy and well for the duration of his natural life, you should consider another pet. Chinchillas are far from the most expensive pet out there, but there are some significant costs to consider.
Here’s a quick summary of the estimated annual cost for keeping a chinchilla:
- Purchasing/Adopting = $75 to $250
- Cage and Setup = $215 to $755 (without spay/neuter)
- Annual Veterinary Costs = $40 to $65 (exam only)
- Monthly Food and Supplies = $35 to $65
These costs will vary depending on a variety of factors including the type of chinchilla you choose, the cage setup, and your pet’s ongoing health.
You can’t truly predict how much your chinchilla will cost upfront or on a monthly basis, but hopefully these numbers help give you an idea so you can decide whether you are able to responsibly afford this pet or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a chinchilla cost?
The cost to purchase a chinchilla depends where you get it and what color you choose. The standard grey variety is easy to find in pet stores and generally ranges from $75 to $150 in price. Other colors may be more expensive, and you may need to go to a breeder to find one.
How much does it cost to neuter/spay a chinchilla?
It is possible to spay or neuter a chinchilla, but the procedure can be dangerous, so it is generally not recommended unless medically necessary. The better option is to simply avoid keeping a male and female chinchilla together. If you must have your male chinchilla neutered, you can expect to spend $250 or more for the procedure, lab work, and pain medications.
How much does a chinchilla vet checkup cost?
Most veterinarians are not trained in exotics like chinchillas, so you may need to pay a little more to see an exotics vet. Expect to spend between $40 and $65 per visit.
How much does it cost to microchip a chinchilla?
The cost to microchip a pet is usually a one-time fee of $35. Most small pets can be microchipped, but you have to ask yourself whether it’s necessary for a pet that never goes outdoors.
How much does chinchilla food cost?
The cost to feed your chinchilla varies depending on the quality of the diet you choose. You can expect to spend about $10 per month on pellets with an additional $10 to $20 on hay.
How much does a chinchilla cage cost?
The cost of your chinchilla cage depends on the size and materials. Your chinchilla requires plenty of space in a multi-level cage, especially if you have two chinchillas. Expect to spend at least $100 but probably closer to $200, up to $300 for your cage.