The price you pay when buying a chinchilla is only a small part of the total cost.
To help you understand how much to budget for, I summed up the initial costs that you (hopefully) only have to pay once, and the ongoing costs that you need to pay on a regular basis.
|Items||Initial Costs||Ongoing Costs |
As you can see, owning a pet chinchilla is not cheap (although very rewarding!).
The total amount you need to spend is at least $265 upfront, and then $35 each and every month.
To get a clearer understanding, let’s dig deeper into the numbers.
The two single biggest expenses are buying the chinchilla and buying a cage.
Buying a pet chinchilla
The price of a chinchilla can vary a lot, depending mainly on four factors:
- Color. Largely determined by the chin’s color, prices can be anywhere from $75 to $245.
- Pedigree & fur quality. A chin with high-quality fur and a nice pedigree generally commands a higher price.
- Type of seller. Reputable breeders, rescue organizations, and pet stores, don’t necessarily set the same prices.
- Where you live. Supply and demand is not the same in all parts of the US. Some areas are cheaper than others.
Expect to pay anywhere between $75 and $350.
I know that you can buy chinchillas at Petco and Petsmart, but I would advise against that. There are reports on abuse and mistreatment, and some customers are upset and have stopped buying from them.
Buying a cage
New quality cages can differ a lot in price.
As I discussed in my in-depth cage buying guide, the three best choices are:
|MidWest Critter Nation||- Easy to clean|
- Locking casters
|Prevue Hendryx Feisty Ferret Cage||- Affordable|
- Easy to clean
|Chinchilla Mansion||- No plastic used|
- Made in USA
- Easy to clean
Prices for these top cages are in the $150-$340 range. Quite expensive when compared to, for example, hamster cages.
In my opinion, there is no reason to sacrifice quality for cost, because a sturdy quality cage will last for many years, if not your entire life. If you spread the cost over a 20-year period, we’re talking $10-$15 per year. Not a lot!
Besides, if you for some reason get tired of having chinchillas, you could always sell the cage and recoup some of the money.
If you plan to breed chinchillas, make sure to get a very large cage, as chins can get up to six kits (babies) in each litter.
Just as you get furnitures when you move into a new house, you will need to get some accessories to put in the cage.
The essential accessories that your chinchilla will need – at the bare minimum – are:
- House (for hiding and sleeping): $5-$30
- Glass water bottle: $10
- Ceramic or metal food bowl: $15
- Dust bath house/container: $5-$20
- Hay feeder: $5-$15
Total cost for accessories: $40-$90
Things like chew toys and an exercise wheel would also be highly appreciated by your furry little friend. Just to name a couple of more things you could buy.
Total initial cost
Purchasing a chinchilla, a good quality cage, and necessary accessories, will leave you $265-$780 lighter.
If you think that’s too expensive, I’d advise you to buy the cheapest accessories, and consider buying a used cage (e.g. on Craigslist), or to buy one on sale.
Buying a chin from a rescue could also save you some money.
With the initial costs out of the way, let’s discuss what you need to spend monthly.
Your chinchilla will need food, bedding, hay, dust, and something to gnaw on, like chew toys or chew blocks.
Approximate costs per month:
- Food and treats: $10. We all need food to survive; chinchillas too.
- Bedding: $10. The bedding should be natural and healthy.
- Dust: $5. Chins need to take dust baths to clean themselves.
- Hay: $5. Timothy hay is the best kind.
- Chew toys: $5. Will need to be replaced from time to time.
Total ongoing cost: $35/month.
To save a bit of money, you should buy bedding and hay in bulk, and on sale.
And stay away from small bags of food. Buy the biggest bag, and stock up when it’s on sale.
Finally, use coupons to cut the costs even further!
I have deliberately left veterinary bills out of the “equation”.
Veterinary bills are almost impossible to predict, because they depend so much on the health status of the individual pet, and also on where you live.
But when you do need to see a vet, expect to pay from $50 and up.
Don’t Let the Cost Stop You From Getting a Chinchilla!
Yes, it costs a lot of money to buy and own a chinchilla (or any other pet for that matter), but please don’t let that prevent you from getting one.
Because what you get for your money is something that is hard to quantify in monetary terms. You get a cute and fun little friend to take care of. A warm furry pet that will fill your life with joy and love.
Good luck! 🙂