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This page is for your information only.
We do not breed Degus.





Scientific name - Octodon degus

The Degu comes from the west coast of Chili, from the plains up into the Andes Mountains.
The Octodon (Degu) family is closely related to the Cavy (Guinea Pig) and the Chinchilidae (Chinchilla) families.
The Degus brown-black fur is very similar to a chinchillas fur. An adult Degu is about the same size as a rat, but a little bit rounder in the middle.


The Degu makes an excellent pet for adults and children who want an animal that is enjoyable to watch, handle and even interact with. They are easy to care for.
Degus are a very social animal and they are best kept in twos. A single Degu will do just fine if it has a lot of interaction with its people family.
Degus exhibit advanced behavioral characteristics that are not commonly found in other rodents. Some of these characteristics are their ability to recognize people, sounds, and even objects within their environment. They exhibit this once they have bonded to their human friends by talking to you whenever they see you. They make quiet chortling sounds as well as whistles and a "wheep" sound.
Degus seem to be awake all the time as they take many "cat" naps during the day. They also love to be out and about the house. But be careful, they love to chew!
A Degus average life-span in captivity is 7-10 years.


A glass aquarium (at least a 20-gallon aquarium) is the smallest for two Degus. A Degu will either chew its way out or escape from anything else. Add shelves to the aquarium to give the Degu some extra romp room. Don't worry about being fancy with the shelf (a piece of scrap plywood will do) as the degu will think of it as a place to sit as well as something to chew on.
Place your Degu cage in a spot that is away from drafts and direct sunlight. Room temperature is suitable for a Degu.


Hardwood chip bedding, such as aspen is the best. CareFresh Pet Bedding or Pine bedding will also work as long as it is not dusty. The dust can cause upper respiratory problems. NEVER use cedar shavings, as cedar contains phenols, which can cause severe irritation to a Degu.


Supplying a house for your Degu to sleep in is a good idea, just make sure that the house doesn't have a bottom, otherwise cleaning it is very difficult. Don't get fancy, as we've said before, the Degu will use the house to sleep in as well as chew on. Any wooden objects put in a Degus cage should be easily replaced.
Nesting material should be supplied for their bed. Soft paper, such as toilet paper and paper towel, torn into strips works well. Shredded paper or fresh hay will also make suitable nest material. Cotton wool and the fluffy hamster bedding are not recommended.
A Degu should have a wheel in its cage to get some exercise on. The wheel should be at least 9" in diameter. The wheel should be of the solid variety, as the Degu could injure itself if its leg falls through the wire wheel. If all that you can get is a wire wheel, then "weave" some heavy card paper (cereal boxes work well) through the wire to make a solid wheel. The card paper will have to be changed once in a while. A caution with wheels, a Degu could catch it's tail in the wheel and break it.
Degus need something to chew on. Their teeth are always growing and without something to chew on they will end up with overgrown teeth and they will not be able to eat. Small blocks of softwood, hardwood, cardboard tubes (paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, etc), card paper, etc are great. You can also supply them with branches to chew on, make sure that they are non-toxic and they haven't been sprayed. Some good trees are: apple, arbutus, manzanita, oak etc.
To show what we mean by "love to chew", take a close look at the first image on the page, entitled DEGU AND CHEW BLOCK. This chew block is a piece of dried Arbutus, the hardest naturally growing wood we have on Vancouver Island, it is related to Manzanita. This piece of Arbutus originally measured 6 1/2 inches long by 4 inches across. It is still 6 1/2 inches long, but it is now 2 1/2 inches across at the widest and 3/4 of an inch at the narrowest point.
Degus should also be supplied with a dust bath two or three times a week. Use a small amount of chinchilla dust or clean fine sand in a large bowl or a large glass jar.


The best way to pick up a Degu is to scoop it up in your hands or to let it walk up into your open hand. Don't try to pick up a Degu by it's tail, it could come off and it won't grow back.
Degus love to get out and run around, do not leave them unattended as they consider everything chewable and they don't see any difference between their chew block and your antique chair.
The Degus sense of smell is very good, keep this in mind when you go to handle it. If you have just been eating, your hands smell like food. To a Degu, your finger smells like the potato chip you ate 10 minutes ago, and it may try to eat your finger! Don't worry, it usually realizes that your finger isn't food. If you have anything on your hands that give off an offensive odor, you may not even notice it, but the Degu will and it may bite in reaction to the smell. Always remember to wash your hand first. As they say "first impressions", well a Degus first impression of you is your smell.


Whether you are buying a Degu from a pet store or a breeder, you should ask questions, even if you know the answers from your own research. This will tell you how knowledgeable they really are. If they don't know what they are talking about, buyer beware! If they don't want to give you any information or want to help you, buyer beware!
Check out their facilities carefully. Look for overcrowding, dirty cages, unhealthy animals, smell the air. If the animals are overcrowded and/or the cages are dirty, be very cautious about buying a Degu. There shouldn't be any sickly animals in sight, any good breeder/pet shop will have a "sick" room for any animals that aren't up to par. If the establishment/breeding facility has a very strong odor, be very careful, even if it looks clean, the smell is coming from somewhere. Any place, that has animals, will have a smell to it. The larger the facility, the stronger the odor. They just can't clean as fast as the animals do their business. But if the odor is overpowering, then there might be something else under the surface, use caution.
Check the health of the animal before you buy it and handle it. If they won't let you handle it before you buy it. They may be hiding something, WATCH OUT! Handling the Degu tells you how tame it is and you have a chance to check its health. Look for discharge from its eyes and nose, sneezing, wet rear end and firmness of body. If it has any of these conditions or its body appears thin, don't buy it. Don't even consider another Degu from the same cage as the other Degus may also have the same problems. The Degu you choose should be bright eyed and interested in what is going on without being too nervous. There eyes and nose should be clear, the rear end dry and the body firm to the touch.
If possible, check references. Referrals from other satisfied customers will tell you a lot about that breeder's/pet shop's quality of animals, their care and concern for the animals well-being, their "customer service" and how much information they are willing to share.


It is very important to be careful of what you feed your Degus. A Degu will eat just about anything. Unlike many other rodents, Degus lack the ability to properly digest sugar. This is not the result of a failed organ, but a product of evolution. In the part of Chili that the Degus come from there is not much in the way of fruit (the primary source of sugars for most rodents). As a result of this Degus have evolved a body that cannot digest sugar. NEVER GIVE YOUR DEGUS ANYTHING WITH SUGAR! When a Degu eats anything with sugar in it, including natural sources such as fruit, the Degu can suffer the same way as diabetic people do without insulin.
Degus do best on a mix of 25% rodent mix (low in sunflower) plus 75% chinchilla pellets. Be careful of feeding too much seed, especially sunflower seeds (high in fat) to a Degu as the seeds can be fattening in too high a quantity. Hay should also be given to them. For a treat you can give them peanuts, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, fresh cut grass and yams. Rodent blocks and monkey biscuits can be given to them a couple of times a week. Always keep a fresh supply of water with vitamins available, plus a mineral stone.

This page is for your information only.
We do not breed Degus.




© Petite Paws Exotics
Last updated February 2009