Pet degus – what you need to know!
If you want an animal to cuddle, a degu is probably not the pet for you. These lively, active rodents are better for observing than cuddling and for this reason alone are less suited to children. But if this doesn’t bother you, degus make great pets, bring energy and life into your home and can be observed for hours on end. With patience, they can become hand tame and can be touched and hand-fed. It is important to care for your degu properly so that they stay fit and healthy.
First of all, no degu should live by itself. These rodents are group animals, so you should get at least two or more if possible. Buy animals of the same sex to avoid constant breeding. Get your degus used to each other at the same time as young animals to prevent conflict and ensure a harmonious group dynamic. Degus need plenty of space, so the cage should be as large as possible – optimally with a floor area of one metre by one metre and one and a half metres high, so that they have enough room to move.
What degus need
As well as a cage, which should be made of metal to withstand their sharp teeth, degus need a sleeping enclosure, feed bowls, drinking bottles and a hay manger. You should also provide a sand bath. This is very important, as degus love to dig and also use it to keep themselves clean.
What to feed your degu
When it comes to diet, make sure you don’t kill your degus with kindness. Degus can become overweight as the result of a calorie-rich diet, which increases their risk of diabetes. If you give them a treat between meals, “deduct” this from their main meal and generally be sparing with food. Degus’ diet should consist of hay and guinea pig feed, or you can also get special degu mixes. Make sure your degus always have fresh water in their drink bottle. Every now and again, you can give your degu some vegetables (but no fruit!), such as a piece of carrot or bell pepper. You can give your degus branches to gnaw on, which has the added bonus of giving them something to do. Be sparing with seeds and nuts , only give these to your degus every now and then.
Exercise is important
Time out of the cage every day is an absolute must for degus. Just make sure to make the room degu-safe beforehand. Remove anything that they might be able to gnaw on. Watch out for electric cables, plants, plastic and anything else within rodent reach, as well as tilted windows and open doors. Shut up the room when your degus are out and stay in the room so that you can keep an eye on your pets and intervene if necessary.
Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts