Hey Pet Parents & Pet Lovers,
Sometimes it’s hard to approximate how much an animal costs to adopt, especially if they aren’t common animals like cats or dogs. Even with cats or dogs, it can be hard to approximate how much they cost as it depends on their breed, colour, if they come from a shelter or if they are a surrender. So, today I’m going to be answering the question: How much do Chinchillas cost?
It should be no surprise by now that we didn’t actually pay to adopt Gary as he was surrendered to us, but it didn’t mean we weren’t curious as to how much it would cost to adopt a Chinchilla, especially if we wanted to adopt another one in the future.
Chinchillas can cost between $80-400, which is actually much cheaper than I thought they would be. Remember: this would also depend on if they are bought through a rescue, pet store, breeder, etc.
Are there different costs for different types of Chinchillas?
Yes, there are. Standard gray Chinchillas like Gary usually come for $100-200 (most commonly sold for $150 which is the standard for cats from shelters) each from pet stores, and breeders will commonly charge the same price. However, if you are in a location that has lots of Chinchillas or in a place where Chinchillas are native Chinchillas may actually be cheaper, averaging around $80.
Chinchilla rescues have various adoption prices but are comparable to pet store prices, however, some do offer cages as an incentive to adopt from them as cages can be pricey, especially for first-time small mammal owners. Check out our list of our favourite cages here.
The cheapest way to get a Chinchilla is through classified ads, however make sure you do a lot of research in the folks giving away/selling the Chinchillas as there have been lots of horror stories of little friends being sick, or being much older than they are stated to be (leaving you with an elder Chinchilla who may not live very long.)
Which are Cheaper? Breeders or Pet Stores?
Definitely pet stores. Pet stores don’t commonly take in mind the fur quality or health of the Chinchilla. They charge a flat rate per Chinchillas, similar to rescues.
What are the initial/ongoing costs of owning a Chinchilla
As mentioned I wrote a longer article about our favourite cages, including cheap ones as well as more expensive ones. However, if you’re just looking for an estimate, your cage will be a $100-$300 one time cost as long as it’s a good quality one that doesn’t break easily or your Chinchilla doesn’t learn to break free from it.
This is a fairly inexpensive running cost. We go through a bag of hay every few months and usually buy Oxbow’s Western Timothy Hay which is about $25 here for 90-oz. Pellets run at different prices. You don’t feed much of them, so expect a bag to last a while, but they are about $10-20 based on the size and quality.
I’d say this is where a lot of the cost comes from. Chew toys need to be replaced fairly frequently since our little guy is a chewing fiend. I say we spend about $15-20 a month one chew toys. You can find some of our favourites here.
Gary is litter trained and likes to use unscented non-clumping cat litter. This usually costs about $25-30 and you will use a bag for about half a year to a year. Honestly, one of the least expensive investments for Chinchillas.
Bedding can get pretty pricey dependant on how often you are changing your Chinchilla’s cage. I usually recommend about once a week, but depending if they are poop or pee monsters, you may have to change it more often. I usually get the largest packs because they come for the best price. They run for about $30 and you will go through them every couple of months for a larger cage, and maybe once every 3 or 4 months for a smaller cage.
I feel like this is another one of the cheapest things you can get for your Chinchilla. While absolutely necessary, it doesn’t seem like you go through a lot of it. We’ve been using the dust bath Gary’s original owner gave us which was about half full and haven’t needed to buy a new one. We give Gary a dust bath every other day, but if we ever need to get another container it costs around $30. A dust bath house should cost you around $10.
Another 1-time fee that can get pricey if you don’t get a good water bottle. Sadly, a lot of water bottles leak, and since Chinchillas cannot get wet under any circumstances you may have to try a few. Luckily, most pet stores/amazon are pretty good about returns, so you shouldn’t have to dive too far into your pocket, but I wish that the bottle I have was sold online. The top rated one is currently Choco Nose. Water bottles cost between $10-20.
You don’t actually really need to spend money on this, and I would just use a small dish you have around the house. We have a few of these in Gary’s cage and he seems perfectly fine. I would use ceramic ones versus using plastic ones, just so your Chinchilla doesn’t chew it up.
This is a necessity. Your Chinchilla will want to jump, it is in their nature. Dependant on what kind of shelves you get, this may be a 1-time cost or a frequent cost. I recommend getting wood shelves as they last longer than lava chew shelves. Shelves can cost around $10-30 a pop. It doesn’t seem like Gary cares to chew the wood shelf we have for him, so we know it’s probably going to last his whole life.
These also run in different prices and sizes dependant on what it is you want. I’d say the cheapest I found is around $10 while the most expensive is about $50. These are super important to have, and you’ll probably want to invest in a more durable one so it will last longer. Gary loves chewing on his home, but it’s made out of thick wood so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!