You are currently viewing Something Other Than A Cat Or Dog?

Something Other Than A Cat Or Dog?

How About Exotics?

Would you like to know the approximate annual costs associated with your potential family member before the point of purchase? What will my pet cost me annually in upkeep? Several factors influence the annual upkeep of a pet. If your pet is healthy, you will probably spend a lot less per year than someone who has an unhealthy pet.

The following averages are based on the annual cost of food, routine veterinary services and grooming. Of course, you’ll need to allow additional money for start-up, treats and toys. Since this encompasses a wide variance of cost due to personal preference, this allowance has been excluded from the averages. In addition, the averages do not include the cost of your pet. Please keep in mind that costs can vary according to demographic location. Again, these costs are estimates but will provide a potential pet owner with a base cost for the upkeep of their new pet.

  • A pet mouse will cost an owner approximately $50 per year.
  • A pet rat will cost an owner approximately $50 per year.
  • Plan to spend approximately $130 annually for upkeep on a rabbit.
  • A guinea pig will cost an owner about $140 annually to maintain.
  • A gerbil will cost an owner about $75 annually to maintain.
  • Allow about $75 annually for a pet hamster.
  • A pet chinchilla will cost an owner about $110 annually for upkeep.
  • Hedgehogs average about $100 annually to maintain.
  • Plan to spend about $40 per year on your goldfish.
  • Parakeets and cockatiels have annual upkeep of about $110.
  • A tarantula will cost you about $50 annually to maintain.
  • Plan to spend about $90 annually for your pet lizard.
  • An iguana will cost its owner an average of $200 annually for upkeep.
  • About $240 annually should cover the upkeep of your pet snake.
  • A turtle owner should set aside about $100 annually for upkeep.
  • Salamanders and frogs will cost and owner about $100 annually to maintain.
  • Plan to spend about $175 per year on your pet ferret.
  • And last, but certainly not least, plan to spend at least $450 annually on your pet potbellied pig.

How About A Bird?

The cost of owning a small pet bird can add up quickly and can be much more than people expect. Depending upon the species, the cost of the bird itself can be fairly inexpensive, or reach $1,000 or more.

Many people consider getting a bird as a pet since they feel most birds cost less and take less of a time commitment than a dog or a cat. This may be true if you get a canary that stays in the cage all the time and all you do is feed it. On the other hand if you purchase a cockatiel or parrot, they require a larger cage, more food, more durable toys, and more of your time. Please research the needs of any pet you are thinking about bringing into your home before you get it.

The table to the left gives the prices for the very basics needed in setting up a small pet bird in a household.

The cost for some birds like a Hyacinth Macaw can easily be several thousand dollars for the bird itself. The cages and toys for the larger birds also are larger and more durable thereby increasing the cost.

As this price chart on the right shows, even a small inexpensive bird requires a monetary commitment from the owner. Before bringing the bird into the house for yourself or for children, decide if your budget can afford it. Do not make the bird suffer because you made an impulse buy. Pets of any kind take money and time. With that in mind, they can be wonderful to have.

How About A Fish?

The joy of setting up and properly maintaining an aquarium is one that is experienced by an increasing number of people every year. A new aquarium owner might be lulled into thinking that a small aquarium is inexpensive, low maintenance, and requires very little time. While you can certainly try to operate an aquarium under these assumptions your fish may not thrive and you will not enjoy it nearly as much as you would if you did it correctly. You should be aware that there are many expenses involved as well as a serious time commitment on your part.

Fresh Water

An aquarium should not be viewed as a decoration but as a living, biological environment that provides a healthy, safe refuge for the fish that live there. A well maintained, healthy aquarium becomes an object of beauty. A poorly maintained aquarium is an eyesore and the cause of death for the unlucky fish inhabitants.

The cost of running an aquarium is important because if an aquarium owner is not willing to invest the necessary money and time in doing it right, then the fish will suffer and die as a result. The following cost chart takes into account only the basic cost of a small to a medium-sized freshwater tank. Salt-water tanks are for experts only and costs for freshwater tanks are a fraction of a salt-water setup. The cost of your time is not taken into consideration here. Setting up and maintaining a tank is a hobby and a joy. If you look at tank maintenance as an unpleasant chore, then you will not spend enough time maintaining it and therefore have an unhealthy tank, and should consider a different hobby. The price listed is for a 29-gallon tank, which is a great starter size. Tanks smaller than 12 gallons are not suitable for most freshwater set-ups and should be reserved for hospital or quarantine tanks. If you enjoy your aquarium, you will soon find yourself ‘needing’ a larger tank and the cost will go up accordingly.

The list of items and their corresponding costs are accurate estimates for what it recently cost to set up a 29-gallon tank. A 75-gallon tank, which is a popular medium-sized tank, could easily cost twice the amount to purchase and set up.

As this price chart shows, even a small, simple tank is a big investment and the fish only represent a small part of the initial cost. Fish tanks are often purchased as a hobby or novelty for children. Children love and can benefit from a well-maintained tank and often enjoy participating in the care of the fish, but should never be solely responsible for the maintenance and care of these delicate creatures.

In summary, once you are aware of the cost and time commitment needed to properly care for an aquarium you can begin researching the inhabitants of your future tank. Design your tank with the fish in mind. Provide lots of plants, hiding places, and the correct water chemistry. Start slowly and let your tank ‘age’ for a couple of weeks before you add fish. Choose the right kind of fish that work well together and read everything you can get your hands on. Never accept the death of a fish as normal and strive for the healthiest, most well-maintained tank possible. Then sit back and enjoy the real beauty of the special company of these happy, healthy living creatures.


Leave a Reply