A degu is a small mammal native to Chile. Basically they are a rodent and are related
to chinchillas and guinea pigs. People have them as pets for some time, but still many people have not heard about degus even if they have. One factor may be the lack of information on them. In the past people did not even knew what a degu was. Degus were always quoted as Australian rats or gerbils and south American squirrels to use some examples. Internet and world wide web provided help to gather information about degus.
Their behavior is very much fascinating. Some time you may assume like they never sleep because they are so active and speedy. While getting a full night sleep at one go, they will tend to do so in little bits. They love to wander and run around, climb and getting into dark, warm places. Degus are very social with both humans and among themselves. It’s always better for them to have at least one companion along with them. If degu see a recognized person, it may react with variety of sound depending on their mood. Never pick a degu with its tail because it has the ability to drop the tail unlike the lizards. Without social interaction and opportunity for exercise, they can be aggressive and neurotic.
How to tame degus:
Some believe that degus are difficult to tame while others say that it can be easily
done. Degus rely on their sense of smell for many things. Find out what there favorite snacks are. It must be a hand feeling with some physical contact, they like it. Remember, not all degus enjoy physical contact, make it sure your does. It is important not to give them too many treats, yet oats are healthiest for them.
When we talk about degus, what animal they look like depend on our point of view. To most people degus look like gigantic gerbils and to others they look like squirrels. Its true that their shape and proportion resemble gerbil whereas by face it looks similar to squirrel. Degus have brown fur on top with black mixed in it to make 60% brown and 40% black. Some degus are lighter and some are even dark. Their tails are like rat but smaller in proportion. Their teeth normally have a bright orange color. Whenever they walk they hold their tails partially up, may be to keep it from wear or damage or even getting trapped.
Age and the sounds they make:
Unlike all other mammals degus are the target of many predators. They also are a victim of many diseases as a result they do not live very long at all. Of all the degus that are born only 50% survive till their first birthday. Maximum life span of the degu can be about 3-4 years.
Degus make a variety of sounds depending on their mood. If their mood is good they would make a warbling sound. This sound means that degu likes whomsoever they are making sound at. Another sound they make is chattering sound. This means they are not happy to something.
A degu will eat anything you give. Degus cannot metabolize simple sugar such as that found in fruit. It should be fed with cornflour and sunflower seeds. They love raw peanuts but its quite harmful for them too. They should be fed with yellow and green vegetables.
Housing and Nest:
As like other animals, avoid cedar and pine shavings. Thick branches can be added to the cage. Thick cotton ropes can also be used for climbing toys. Using heavy ceramic dishes is a good idea as for them.
The prices of degus very much depend on where you adopt them from. From a breeder, you can buy it at around $10-20. From exotic pet stores, around $15-30. It wholly rely upon which one and with what all facilities you need.