Degus

About degus

DeguAre degus suitable for all ages?

Degus are sociable animals and suitable for most ages. They can be very noisy, ranging from a soft happy warble to a loud angry frightened squeak (which can go on for some time).

How long do degus live?

Degus tend to live between 5-8 years. How long they live seems to be linked to having the right diet.

Are they friendly?

Degus are very active and sociable but they are not keen on being picked up. They will however sit on your lap for short periods of time. They live in big family groups in the wild and should never be kept singly. For that reason we only rehome degus in pairs or when one is going to join other degus in its new home.

Can degus be let out to play?

Yes, they can but they will need a safe area free from electrical cables, furniture and carpets as they love to gnaw!

Caring for your degus

What you need to know...

Housing your degus

Being very active degus need a large cage – at least 90cmsx90cmsx90cms – with plenty of things to climb on such as branches, rocks, wooden blocks, pots and so on. The bottom of the cage should be solid and covered with shredded paper or peat and hay. This should be cleaned out once a week or more.

They need a box for sleeping in and a dust bath, made from chinchilla dust and sand, to help them keep clean. You need to sieve this daily if you can, as degus do have a habit of using their bath as a toilet!

Healthy tips for degus

  • Make sure you clean the bottom of the cage at least twice a week to prevent infections.
  • A dustbath works wonders and is essential for keeping them clean.
  • Avoid all sugar, which is in fruit and vegetables too – degus cannot digest it and it can result in diabetes and eye cataracts.
  • Don’t worry that your degus’ teeth are orange. They are meant to be and shows they are healthy!

Feeding your degus

Degus enjoy a very bland and dry diet. This includes dried plant stuffs such as grass, roots, barks and seeds. Avoid sunflower seeds, corn and peanuts as these contain too much fat and oil. Avoid sugar as degus cannot digest it.

We recommend you feed your degu a mix of chinchilla grass pellets mixed with a small amount of guinea pig food (but no molasses). Treats: Once or twice a week you can give your degus low sugar treats such as washed dandelion leaves, grass, broccoli or herbs but no more than a piece smaller than a postage stamp for each animal.

Need more help and advice?

Call the Small Animal Team at Raystede on 01825 880467 or email smallanimals1@raystede.org

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