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Degu - Octodon degu

The Degu (pronounced dee-goo) have recently become popular as pets in the UK, though until very recently they were seldom found in traditional pet shops.

Degus make great pets for adults and older children having an advantage over traditional small pets, in that they are active during the daytime rather than at night (diurnal) by habit. Degus are not really suitable for small children as they do tend to wriggle about a bit when held until tamed. They are easy to feed and water.

Other traits and factors are their longevity living well over ten years in ideal conditions but generally to be around 5-8 years of age. Degus have a haired tail, as compared to rats and mice, which many people prefer. Degus are entertaining as not only do they have a complex vocal repertoire, including squealing, barking, whistling, chirping and more, for communicating but also drum with their feet, beat their tail and use their head to thump objects noisily too!

A family of Degu Rodents as Pets - Facts, InformationOne disadvantage of the degu as a pet is that they are incessant gnawers; much more than most other common rodent pets. They can easily get through plastic-bottomed cages typically found in pet stores and because of this gnawing, plastic toys and other items; bowls, etc. must be kept out of a degu's reach, because some plastics contain components such as plasticizers that are toxic when ingested. The other is that Degus are best kept in a same sex group, as big as you like, or pair at the least. Degus are best kept in a largish wire cage with a number of different levels.

Untamed degus, as with most small animals, can be prone to biting, but their intelligent nature makes them reasonably easy to tame. Tame Degus often go through a grooming action with their owners, gently nibbling action to the skin, but they can give a defensive bite with their naturally orange teeth if they feel threatened.

DegusDegus are mainly known for their brown fur, but through genetic mutations of white, cream, black, blue, and tan coloured fur have come about through intentional inbreeding, has established these colours, although at the time of writing not readily available in the pet market place.


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