The day to day cost involved in keeping a chinchilla is very little however there is a larger initial cost.
First off is the cost of the chinchilla, which can vary widely depending on where you live and where you get the chinchilla from, and what color you choose.
Typically pet stores charge $150 or more for a standard gray chinchilla; usually more for colored chins if they even sell them. Breeder prices can vary widely based on location, color, and rarity. Breeders often times also take pedigree or fur quality into consideration when pricing the chinchillas, so a show quality chinchilla (or one that comes from show champ parents) may cost more than a non-show line chinchilla. Rescues often adopt chins out at lesser fees than breeders, and sometimes even include a cage which can greatly reduce your start up costs-do realize that rescues do not give away chinchillas for free and the adoption fee helps cover food and any vet visits and care while at the rescue. You can also sometimes find chinchillas in local classifieds, with or without a cage for usually less than the cost from a pet store and sometimes the price may be able to be negotiated.
Besides the chinchilla itself, the cage is the most expensive item needed. A good quality sturdy cage may cost even more than the chinchilla. To cut costs, you can look for a used cage in good condition; just make sure to thoroughly clean it before use. Never sacrifice quality for cost! Also factor in any modifications the cage may need-new pans, wood shelves, or higher sides to keep litter in. A cage already appropriate for a chinchilla or two costs about $230 new.
Every chinchilla should have a hide house of some sort. How many tunnels, hammocks, or other cage accessories you buy are up to you. The more toys the better!
As mentioned above, the continuing cost of owning a chinchilla is relatively low. Food, hay, dust, and litter cost about $30 per month. Chew toys and wooden shelves will need to be replaced over time. It is hard to predict how often you will need new toys as some chins chew more than others and it will also depend on what type of chew toys you purchase; I’ve had some last a year and others last a few hours.
Veterinarians can be expensive so it is a good idea to have a vet fund especially should an emergency come up; vet visits are not cheap! Veterinary costs vary widely on location but I’d expect $50 min for regular visit (I’m in the midwest) and at least $100 to walk in the door of an emergency clinic. Tests and procedures can add up quickly. Chinchillas are prey animals so they hide their illness. Once it is noticeable, it has often progressed. The good news is that chinchillas do not require annual vaccinations or even routine visits.
Costs broken down:
- chinchilla $150+
- cage (new) $230
- accessories/toys $100
- bag of food & hay $15
- container of dust $10
- bag of litter $5-15 depending on kind
total start up costs $510+
on-going costs (food, hay, dust, toys, litter) about $40-50 per month
I would recommend a vet fund of $500 minimum but ideally $1000+
** Note these figures are approximations of the cost of owning 1 chinchilla and may differ depending on your location.**
Ideas for keeping costs down:
- Buy bulk hay, if stored properly hay will last about a year. If you know someone who has horses, see if they can get you part of a bale, it will be much cheaper than the pet store. Beware of buying a full bale, that is a huge amount of hay.
- I buy one bag of dust a year direct from Chilldust.