Degus – An Exotic Pet You Can Fall in Love With

Degus – An Exotic Pet You Can Fall in Love With

Degus belongs to
the rodent family. They are very friendly and intelligent pets when
compared to other rodents. They are hassle free and demand less
maintenance. Some people compare the degu
to chinchillas, squirrels and even gerbils. But they are very

Let’s dive right in.

a Look at Having Degus as Pets

Degus have a tweed
brown color and have a long tail with brush like hair at the end. The
tail is nearly one to two third of the body’s length. They use it
to maintain balance while climbing and while walking they keep it in
the upright position.

Their belly is cream color
and there are circles around their eyes. Their ears are surprisingly
big as well as their whiskers. Degus slow down the growth of
their claws by nibbling on them, so their claws don’t require

The Degus forelimbs
are longer than their hind limbs. They are born with yellow teeth
that turn orange after reacting to the chlorophyll present in plants.
Which also turns their saliva orange.

from Chile

They are originally found
in Chile and are exported to other countries. There are some import
restrictions on degus in America, so it is uncommon to find
degus in pet shops there.

But degus can be
found in pet stores, all over Europe. Initially other countries
brought them in not as exotic pets but to conduct laboratory
experiments. They do not have the ability to digest sugar, so they
were used to test diabetes.

When young, a degus
size can be compared to hamsters and when they grow to their full
size they can be compared to hamsters. They grow to full size within
a few months, so all their equipment should be bought with that in

Need a Big Cage

The cage should be big and
must have a running wheel. Their average body weight is 160 to 230
grams when they grow into full adulthood.

Degus are very
playful animals and lots of toys are generally kept in their cage.
Baby degus do not fight at all and are always involved in
playing. It would be a bad idea to keep their cage in the bedroom, as
they will keep people awake with all the noise they make.

Although degus are
active primarily in the daytime, they only sleep for short periods.
So chances are that they will stay awake for a few hours at night.
They are at the peak of their activity in the mornings and evenings
and otherwise, shut their eyes very little.

Are Very Sociable and Not Afraid

Since they are very
sociable and not afraid of humans, it is recommended never to keep
degus alone. They should be kept, at least, in pairs. If they
are kept alone, their life expectancy decreases and they get really
depressed, in spite of human attention. They also become aggressive.

Degus have the
tendency to shed their tails in defense when animals attack them. So
it is recommended that you never tug their tails. The tail will bleed
and nearly half of it dies slowly and falls off or gets chewed off by
the degu.

Even worse is that the
tail doesn’t grow back. Degus don’t like to be held very
tightly or for a long time. Never lift them from the top as they have
the natural tendency of getting scared. This is because degus
in the wild get carried away by birds.

Can Be Trained

Owners can gain
familiarity by stretching out their palms and calling out to them
calmly. The degus develop voice familiarity and can be trained
to climb onto the palms of their owners.

In the wild, most degus
can typically live up to a year. While less than one percent live up
to two years. But in captivity, they can live up to five years or
more. Females, who live with males, will die sooner. This is because
they become weaker due to constant pregnancies.

Their pregnancy periods
last for eighty seven to ninety three days. Therefore, it is
recommended that members of the same gender should be kept together
as pets. If an owner is interested in breeding degus, opposite
genders can be kept together. But they should be careful about not
exhausting the female with regular pregnancies. Also keep in mind,
that they shouldn’t bear a pup more than once a year.

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Thank You For Reading!

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