How Much Are Chinchillas? (Initial & Yearly Costs)

Have you come across the irresistible-ness of a chinchilla’s face and instantly fallen in love? We have! This fluffy-faced furball has stolen hearts around the world and left many people asking: How much are chinchillas?

But chinchillas are exotic pets, so aren’t they meant to be crazy expensive to keep? We thought so too, until we broke the cost down and realized the expense of owning a chinchilla is actually comparable to other types of pets.

The costs involved in owning a chinchilla can be divided into three categories: the price of the animal itself, the initial setup, and the yearly maintenance costs. We’ve detailed each of these categories for you, linked some helpful products, and done a final cost analysis to help you figure out your chinchilla budget.

Why Do Chinchillas Cost So Much?

Chinchillas are native to South America and have been prized for their luxurious fur for over a century. Many people don’t realize it, but chinchillas are rodents and we all know how clever rodents can be. This is what makes them excellent pets — they’re smart, affectionate, and beautiful creatures.

Depending on a variety of conditions and where they come from, a chinchilla can range from about $75 and up for an adoption fee or they can cost as much as $400 or more from a breeder. So, what can sometimes make them so pricey?

1. Demand

The demand on breeders around the world and in the U.S changes from year to year depending on how popular or trendy chinchillas are at the time. If these animals suddenly become popular and there aren’t enough of them on the market to keep up with the demand, their price can rise quite dramatically.

2. Breeding Costs

The costs associated with breeding chinchillas are quite high, and breeders obviously build this into the price you pay them.

Chinchillas have a gestational period (are pregnant for) around 110 days and only produce an average litter of three babies at a time. These babies need to be cared for for a minimum of eight weeks before they can go to a new owner.

3. Quality

The quality of the breeder and chinchillas will also have an effect on the price. An experienced breeder with documented pedigrees for their chinchillas will cost more than a newer breeder or a local animal shelter.

It can be a bit of a catch-22 situation. The experienced breeder is more expensive, but they will know if any of their chinchillas have genetic defects or are predisposed to illnesses or anxiety. However, the adoption route means you’re saving an animal, saving money, and giving it a loving home but without all the helpful lineage information.

4. Desirability

Chinchillas come in a small range of colors, and each color has a different price tag depending on its rarity.

  • Gray chins are the cheapest as this coloration is most common.
  • Brown and beige are slightly more expensive because the coloration doesn’t happen as frequently as gray.
  • Mutation colors such as white, pink, mosaic, and hetero beige all cost slightly more as they are specially bred.
  • Complicated mutation colors such as pure white, violet, and chocolate cost the most as they require generations of breeding.

Generally speaking, the rarer the mutation and color, the more expensive the chinchilla will be.

5. Pairing Up

Most rodents are social animals and chinchillas are no exception. Chins live in colonies in the wild. It is not recommended that you only own one chinchilla, as they function better in same-sex pairs. So, double the cost of your chinchilla once you’ve found a breeder or a shelter with chins.

If you house a male and female together, make sure the male is castrated; otherwise, you may come home to baby chinchillas one day!

Unfun Fact: Chinchillas have been hunted to near extinction in the wild for their fur. There are reported to be less than 10,000 wild chinchillas, which makes them an endangered species.

The Initial Purchase And Setup Costs

Let’s get into what you’ll need to set up your chinchilla comfortably and what it will cost you.

1. The Chinchilla

As we’ve already discussed, the cost of chinchilla itself can range from about $75 and up for some adoptions to as much as $400 or more to purchase.

2. Housing And Accessories

Chins love to climb, tunnel, and jump, and need plenty of space to do it safely. You will need a large cage suitable for all these requirements. However, once you’ve bought the cage, it’s there! You don’t need to downsize or upsize like you would for a snake.

Other initial accessories include:

If you live in a warmer climate, your chinchilla will need a cooling system. Chins are native to the high and dry Andes mountains in South America and do not thrive in warm weather. Cooling systems will vary depending on your climate and can be as simple as a cooling rock or a full air conditioning system.

3. Bedding

Along the bottom of your chin’s cage, you’ll need to line it in safe bedding to keep them happy and comfortable while also being hygienic. The best option is fleece. It’s soft and comfortable, absorbent, and can be put in the wash when dirty.

Using fleece will save you money in the long run. However, paper bedding is also a good option because it’s relatively cheap and safe for your chin when they nibble on it.

Fun Fact: Chinchillas are closely related to the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, and another pet rodent few people have heard of, the degu!

4. Food

A ceramic or metal food bowl is ideal for chins because they tend to gnaw on anything in sight. Once plastic has been chewed on, it’s virtually impossible to get and keep it bacteria free.

In addition to the food bowl, your chin needs a glass water bottle. The glass part is important for the same reasons as the food bowl. It needs to be a water bottle and not a dish because your chin cannot get wet from a spilled water dish.

Chinchillas need a specially formulated commercial pellet that includes all of their basic nutritional needs. In addition to the pellets, your chin needs timothy hay to help grind their teeth down and aid their digestion.

Treats (nuts, seeds, hibiscus leaves, dandelion leaves, and fruit such as dried goji berries) should be included in your initial setup to reward even the simplest behaviors such as coming out of hiding and eating other food.

Adding mineral and pumice blocks to the enclosure will provide your chin with some vital nutrients and another way to grind their teeth down.

5. Initial Vet Wellness Visit

Your chin should go for an initial vet visit when you first get them. This visit is going to be more expensive because you need to see an exotic pet vet who has experience with chinchillas. 

Good news, though: chins don’t need vaccines. However, they do need to be dewormed, have a full body checkup, and get their teeth checked, too.

Depending on where you got your chin and its condition, this can be a relatively cheap or expensive vet visit.

Chinchilla$75 to $400
Cage$200 to $300
Cooling System$10 to $50
Setup Accessories$80 to $200
Health Care$200 to $300
Bedding$100 to $150
Food$60 to $150

This brings your initial cost to approximately $700 to $1,550.

Unfun Fact: Some chinchillas can be so stressed out in poorly set up environments that they refuse to eat and die from starvation even if there is food in their cage.

Yearly Costs Of Owning A Chinchilla

Once you’ve set up your chin’s home and purchased some initial supplies, you can pause for a bit before spending more money. However, eventually that bag of food will empty and their dust will need to be replaced.

Let’s look at what items you’ll need to replace and how often.

1. Bedding And Accessories

Using fleece blankets cuts down the cost a lot as they can be washed. However, they will eventually have holes chewed in them and need to be replaced. This may happen every couple of months or just once a year or more depending on how much your chin loves to chomp!

As toys get worn down, ladders get chewed through, and running wheels give out, they will also need to be replaced.

2. Food

Although chinchillas are small, they eat plenty of food! A six-pound bag of hay and a 10-pound bag of pellets should last around four months per chinchilla. Fortunately, this means you won’t need to buy them food every month. Buying in bulk can also help you cut down the cost.

3. Annual Vet Visits

Even if your chinchilla is in good health, yearly vet visits are important to maintain routine deworming and teeth checks. A chinchilla’s teeth are like many of their rodent family in that they don’t stop growing and constantly need to be ground down.

If their teeth become too long, your chin can struggle to eat or contract a fatal infection.

Skimping on yearly vet visits can cost you a lot of money in the long run.

4. Grooming

Chinchillas cannot get wet. Their fur is so dense that it almost never fully dries. If a chinchilla remains wet for a long period of time, they will get so cold that they die from hypothermia. If they get wet and manage to stay warm, they will grow fungus in their fur, which will make them very sick.

Well, how do you bathe a chinchilla then? With dust!

You’ve provided your chin with a dust bath house in their setup and put some special dust in it. When your chin feels it’s necessary, they’ll jump in the bath house and rub the dust into their fur to absorb excess oils from their skin and, voila, they are clean!

You will need to replace the dust once every week or two depending on whether your chin has scooped all the dust out or pooped in it.

Bedding$100 to $150
Food$60 to $150
Replacement Accessories$25 to $50
Check Ups and Deworming$100 to $150
Dust$20 to $50
Utility UsageCalculated according to your needs and area

This brings your annual cost to between $300 and $600.

FAQs About How Much Chinchillas Cost

How much do Angora chinchillas cost?

Angora chinchillas, also known as Royal Persian Angora chinchillas, are a special breed of chin with extra-small facial features and extra-long, luxurious hair. These chins were bred for the show room and can cost up to $15,000!

Can I keep a chinchilla on a budget?

Keeping any pet on a budget where you have to cut corners, compromise on their care or quality of their food, or cut down on the frequency of the vet visits is unfair to the pet.

Are there differences in cost between the two species of chinchilla?

There are two species of chinchilla: the short-tailed chinchilla and long-tailed chinchilla. They are the same price in terms of all their costs.

Fun Fact: Chinchilla can live for 20 years in captivity!

A Final Word On The Cost Of Chinchillas

There are three categories when it comes to determining how much chinchillas cost: the initial purchase, the price of the setup, and the maintenance costs. The initial cost can be pretty significant, but the annual costs aren’t too high when compared with other pets.

Let’s recap the most important expenses:

  • The cost of the chinchilla will depend on their coloration and quality of breeder.
  • The cage is fairly large and will cost a lot; however, this is truly a one-time expense.
  • Quality food is important because a chinchilla with a poor-quality diet will suffer from nutritional issues and need to see the vet regularly.
Chinchilla$75 to $400
Cage$200 to $300
Cooling System$10 to $50
Setup Accessories$80 to $200
Health Care$200 to $300
Bedding$100 to $150
Food$60 to $150
Replacement Accessories$25 to $50
Check Ups and Deworming$100 to $150
Dust$20 to $50
Utility UsageCalculated according to your needs and area
Total Costs$700 to $1,550$300 to $600

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