Basic Degu Information
The Degu is a small 5-9" brown rodent with a tail 2/3 the length of the body, somewhat similar to a Gerbil but larger (2-3 times the size).
Degus originate from the lowland areas of Chile where they live in large groups making their homes in rocks or brush. Degus are found in nearly every climate except the very high elevations. They are considered an agricultural pest in Chile, but here in the U.S. they are kept as pets.
Degus typically nest and storage their food under rocks in the areas they inhabit. In the wild, Degus can live up to 15 years, but in captivity they rarely become 10 years old with an average age of 5 years. Once they get used to you, Degus can be very affectionate and will want to be pet and picked up.
They are very sweet natured and won't bite unless threatened or hurt, and they can be trained to respond to their names. It has even been heard that they can be trained to use a small animal litter box inside their cage.
Degus need a lot of attention or they can become depressed, significantly shortening their life spans. It is suggested that you buy two Degus together so they could provide company for each other. Degus are very verbal and the squeaking sounds they make at each other to communicate can be very entertaining. They are more intelligent than most rodents.
It is common for Degus to constantly rearrange items in their cage, just as we rearrange furniture or tidy up our homes.
Do not pull on their tails or they will rip off and will not regrow; this was a defence mechanism for wild Degus.
Want more information on caring for degus? Browse our archive of articles:
Degu Cage Suggestions