The Ultimate Guide for New Degu Owners

Apr 09, 2024

The Ultimate Guide for New Degu Owners

Table of contents:

  1. Understanding Degus
  2. Setting Up for Your Degu
  3. Bringing Your Degu Home
  4. Daily Care Routine
  5. Socialisation and Handling
  6. Final Thoughts

Welcoming a degu into your home is a decision that brings excitement and a bit of adventure. These charming and highly social rodents from the Chilean Andes are not only fascinating to watch but can also form strong bonds with their human caretakers. If you’re considering adding a degu (or preferably, degus, since they thrive in pairs or groups) to your family, it’s important to understand their specific needs. This guide aims to cover everything a new degu owner needs to know, ensuring a smooth transition and a happy, healthy life for these adorable pets.

Understanding Degus

Before diving into the essentials, let’s get to know degus a little better. Degus are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day, which aligns well with human schedules. They have a lifespan of about 5-8 years, so be prepared for a long-term commitment. Degus are highly social and intelligent, requiring mental stimulation and social interaction to stay happy. They’re known for their curious nature, which means they’ll need a secure environment to explore.

Setting Up for Your Degu

1. The Habitat

Degus need a spacious, well-ventilated cage to roam, climb, and play. A solid metal or glass cage is preferable, as degus are proficient chewers. The cage should be equipped with multiple levels to take advantage of their love for climbing.

2. Bedding

Use a safe, absorbent bedding such as paper-based products or aspen shavings. Avoid cedar or pine as these can be harmful to degus.

3. Diet

A balanced degu diet consists mainly of hay, degu-specific pellets, and fresh vegetables in moderation. Degus are prone to diabetes, so avoid sugary fruits and treats.

4. Water

Ensure fresh, clean water is always available through a bottle attached to the cage.

5. Exercise and Enrichment

Provide a variety of toys, including chew toys made of safe woods, tunnels, and an exercise wheel with a solid surface to prevent injury. Degus also enjoy sand baths, so provide a sand bath a few times a week to help them keep their fur clean.

6. Social Interaction

Degus are highly social animals and should ideally be kept in pairs or small groups of the same sex to prevent loneliness. They also enjoy interacting with their human families but will need some time to get used to handling.

Bringing Your Degu Home

When you first bring your degus home, give them a few days to adjust to their new environment without trying to handle them too much. Speak softly and move slowly around them to build trust.

Daily Care Routine

  • Feeding: Provide a consistent supply of hay and fresh water, alongside a controlled portion of pellets and vegetables.
  • Cleaning: Spot-clean the cage daily to remove soiled bedding and uneaten food. Conduct a thorough clean weekly.
  • Health Checks: Regularly monitor your degus for any signs of health issues, such as changes in eating or grooming habits.

Socialisation and Handling

Once your degus are comfortable with their new home, you can begin to slowly introduce handling. Use treats to encourage them to come to you, and always support their body when picking them up.

Final Thoughts

Owning degus can be a deeply rewarding experience, filled with fun and companionship. By understanding and catering to their specific needs, you can ensure a fulfilling life for your new furry friends. Welcome to the delightful and engaging world of degu ownership!

© Vet Verified 2024