Degus have the scientific name – “Octodon Degus.” Their expected lifespan typically is between 5 and eight years, although reports of Degus living up to 10 years are not very rare. Degus are about 5 to 7 inches long when they are fully grown. If you include the tail, they can be twice as long as that.
Degus are rodents native to South America that are increasingly becoming popular as household pets. Think of them as a larger and common version of the Syrian hamster with similarities to Chinchillas. Degus make great pets for those that want a clean and easy to look after an animal that you can keep in the confines of a Degu cage.
Degus are extremely social creatures, and they can be very tame and friendly towards their human owners. In the wild, degus live in communities, and they live in an elaborate burrow networks. Degus should be kept together with other degus, in small groups or pairs. They are curious and playful animals and without any social interactions or chance to exercise they can become neurotic and aggressive. Degus are active during the day and sleep at night( diurnal) – Making them excellent pets for humans.
Degus need significant habitats to exercise and increase happiness. A typical set-up for 2 Degus would have a minimum of 25 inches x inches x 25 inches (tall). Larger cages are better for Degus as with any pet rodent as it can discourage aggressive behavior. Cages or habitats designed for Ferrets or Chinchillas are ideal.
Much like Chinchillas – Degus need regular sand baths to keep their skin and coat healthy. You should provide your degus with a heavy ceramic bowl with a view to house their sand to prevent them from tipping it up.
As with all pet rodents, degus should be provided with a substrate or bedding material to line the bottoms of their cage. The purpose of this substrate is to soak up urine, remove the smell, and allow your degus something to dig in. A good substrate to use is wood shavings however you should avoid cedar and pine shavings because they can cause breathing problems to your pet degus.
Degus love to chew and their teeth are always growing (just like hamsters). It is crucial to provide them with opportunities to chew and keep their teeth nice and trim. You can give them wooden chew blocks, or cardboard toilet roll tubes which make great cheap chewing utensils for your pet degus. Another good option is a salt or mineral block designed for pets can be attached to their cage walls.