If you are an animal lover and collector of exotic animals, then you might wanna consider a Degu for a pet. If you have never heard of a Degu, then they are small hystricomorpha rodents. They are predominantly found in Chile and like to live in groups like most small animals in the wild.
These are only among the few types of rodents that are day dwellers, unlike most of their species. And they really thrive in captivity. They are very likable animals, craving belly rubs and other forms of social interaction. The Degu rodent is larger than a hamster but is smaller than some fancy rats.
|Scientific Name||Octodon Degus|
|Color||Black degu and red|
|Size||9 to 12 inches, weight 6 to 11 ounces|
|Degu Lifespan||6 to 8 years|
Can Degu Be A Good Pet?
Degus are considered exotic animals, so it’s needless to say that there are certain things you need to consider before keeping one as a pet.
Since Degu are exotic animals, there is always an issue with whether they are legal to keep as a pet or not. In some states within the United States, Degu’s are considered illegal to own as they are invasive species.
So it is better if you check your state and city rules and regulars before owning one. In some places, they even require health certificates before owning one.
2. Behavior & Temperament
Like any other rodents, Degus are pretty easy to tame and domesticated if started from a young age. Other than having a single degu, having a pair of same-sex degus with other pairs is the best.
They are very sociable animals and need sufficient exercise and social interaction, or they will act out and become neurotic. They are very curious animals and love to play.
Degu is sometimes known to chat with you, using some chitter sounds. Sometimes you can also hear loud, high-pitched screams when they are stressed or threatened or if their food is stolen.
When they are cornered or feel threatened, that is only when they resort to biting. Their bites are hard and might injure you.
Since Degus are very active animals and love to play around. This is why the Degu cage is large. The minimum size of the cage should be about 24 inches by 18 inches and 24 inches; this will easily accommodate two degus easily.
But if you find an even larger cage, that will also be great; the bigger, the better. There are multilevel cages made for ferrets and chinchilla degu; those cages would be perfect. The floor of the cage needs to be plain and smooth and not wired.
Since Degus are keen chewers, so you need to make sure that the cage is built of some kind of metal or wires. You should avoid wood or plastic as they will chew through it. And also, you need to make sure that the cage has a nesting replica that looks like a burrow.
You can keep an exercising wheel in the enclosure for them to exercise, just like a hamster. Also, some ropes hanging for them to climb on. Ans since degus is great at chewing, keeping some wood and chew toys would be a great idea.
4. Degu Food & Drink
Degu food mainly consists of a lot of roughage and low carbohydrates. So the best Degu food you can get is high-quality guinea pig, and chinchilla pellets or even rodent blocks are great.
To give more nutritious food, you can even opt for grass like Alfalfa or Timothy hay, which are available everywhere. If you have fresh vegetables available, then you can give your degu, like sweet potato, carrots, spinach, parsley, and green beans.
You should avoid giving cruciferous vegetables to your degus, like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and kale. Their stomach can’t handle these types of vegetables in high amounts.
5. Health care & Problems
Although degus are very healthy animals in general, but they have certain health issues. As they produce their own insulin, they are at high risk of diabetes. The signs of these are fat rollings and cataract development.
Degus are a high risk of bumblefoot, which is a bacteria-infused infection that sores your foot. For its treatment, you would require antibiotics. Degu care is quite easy until and unless they have any health issues.
Since degus are avid chewers, dental and mouth diseases are very common, so buy safer chew toys for them. Even dry skin is a huge possibility so keep their cage clean to prevent unsanitary conditions.
Since degus are very energetic animals, they love to exercise. So you should keep a lot of exercise options for them to play around in the cage. Consider keeping an exercising wheel inside and lots of chew toys for them.
As degus are good at climbing, you can quite easily put branches and ropes inside the cage for them to climb around.
Degus are known to shed or rather molt their old feathers or fur once a year. But if you see it happening more than once, call your vet. Like any other rodents like hamsters or chinchillas, degus need a dust bath on a regular basis to keep their fur clean.
You should put a shallow bowl of bath sand or bath dust and leave it in for about half hour for them to roll around. You should do this biweekly.
Degu’s are known to move in pairs. So if you are not looking for more degu babies, don’t get a female and male degu. If you do, make sure to neuter or spay them, or you will have a dozen degu babies to look after.
Degu Pets: Yay or Nay!
If you are looking to buy a degu, then there are advantages, such as they are very affectionate and easy to care for. No extra grooming is required, and they are friendly with other pets.
But there are certain disadvantages as well, such as they are very needy and need constant attention. And they eat constantly, so make sure to keep a lot of food.
Purchasing a Degu
Degus are prolific breeders, so in pet stores, there is home-bred degu for sale. Degu pet costs about $25 to $100. You can even go for adoption from your nearest humane society.
Before purchasing your degu animal, observe it closely to spot any signs of health issues. Whether it’s footsore, dry skin, watery mouth, or even cloudy eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions! (FAQs):
Though I have provided everything you need to know about degus, here are a few questions that are asked by a few people.
Degus are very sociable and intelligent animals who love to play and be active. They are very affectionate towards humans, which makes them great pets and easy to keep.
Degus are small rodent animals from Chile. They are great pets. They are very social and love to play.
No, degus do not stink, but they do make a squeaky sound through their nose when they are irritated or threatened.
Since you have been informed everything, there is to know about degus. Now it’s totally up to you whether you wanna keep one as a pet or not.
Although they are great as pets, but are great as pets and are very affectionate. So after knowing all their characteristics and nature and behavior, you can decide whether you wanna buy one.