View Full Version : Pet Degu Care Questions

03-18-06, 04:31 pm
Hello everyone. I havn't been on much because I've been caring for my Guineas and researching Degus all day long :eye-poppi . But... I'm back! lol

Heres the scoop though. At a small animal shelter near me there are various degus and I'd quite like to adopt a few. I had a chance to play with a few and immediatly fell in love. The degu I fell in love with is very agressive towards other degus, therefore needs to be housed alone. So please, no one think I'm getting a lone degu just because ;)

Anyways, I have a few questions and I figured you guys could help me out.

1) What size of cage would be approptiate for the little boy I'm adopting?

2) I know that degus need daily veggies, but what kinds? I'm reading mixed opinions on what veggies are okay and what kinds aren't :confused:

3) Any Specific grooming needs I havn't read about? I've read just to make sure the nails don't get long (rough bricks, sandpaper, etc) and every week to gentley brush him down with a soft baby brush. Is that correct? And is there any ear care needed?

Any info you want to give me, any web sites you think I should read, or any questions you think I should know please post them too :p

Thanks very much!

03-20-06, 01:48 pm
Okay, now i just read that they should only have the odd veggie. Clearafication (sp?) please! I'm not sure whether to feed veggies or not *is confused*

03-20-06, 10:36 pm
What is a Degu?

03-21-06, 01:15 am
I researched degus because there was an antisocial agressive one that needed a home but he ended up going to someone with experience keeping these guys. Since noone has responded I will tell you what I found but I am no degu expert.

Degus have much the same diet as a guinea pig and are believed to be fairly closely related. They need a higher protein and calcium level so alfalfa guinea pig pellets mixed with chinchilla pellets are recommended by most people I talked to. Unlimited hay is required as well. Vegetables seem to be a bit controversial but almost all sites and knowledgeable people I talked to said vegetables were needed for variety. Degus don't have a problem manufacturing their own vit c so vit c content is not as much of a concern. Commonly mentioned vegetables were parsley, lettuces, sweet potatos, carrots, and dandelion greens. A few sites say sugar and carbohydrates are not a problem and actually reccomend grains as a supplement but I'm going to go with the majority and some of the most knowledgeable sites which said sugars and carbohydrates should be severely limited. Degus can get diabetes easily and should have very little to no fruits, no breads, and no cereals.

For cage size I think the sizes we use for guinea pigs but taller since degus are more athletic and like to jump and climb would be quite sufficient. I think I would go with something like a 2x3 or 2x4 that's 3 grids high with shelves for jumping, climbing, and sitting on. However you do have to remember degus chew like gerbils but are bigger so they are probably quite efficient coroplast destroyers and building a cage yourself will require different materials or protecting the coro.

03-21-06, 09:40 am
Thanks very much for the help :D

Do you know, are degus affectionate animals?

03-21-06, 07:10 pm
I only handled 3 tame degus and the somewhat crazy agressive one that would bite. They didn't scatter away like guinea pigs but are a bit more defensive. Where a grabbed guinea pig will squeal and try to get away a degu is more likely to bite. Once they get to know you though they can be scooped up without any chasing or scaring them. kinda like picking up a rabbit or a really big gerbil. They seem pretty affectionate but a bit active. The ones in the pens were climbing up the sides and the one I saw in a large aquarium was scrambling on his hind legs to be picked up. Once out though they'd rather run around and explore than sit quietly but weren't really difficult to handle. It took a little convincing that they weren't going to get to play around on the whole floor but they weren't against being handled and restrained. I think part of it was that they were confined to small cages while waiting for a home and were quite bored.

05-13-06, 03:52 pm
I have lots of degus, they are great little animals. They are very inquisitive and nosey and quickly become tame if handled regularly.
They do have a rather specialised diet as they are highly prone to diabetes so cannot be given high fat/sugar foods. I feed mine the same dry food as the guinea pigs which is fine plus plenty of hay. The only fresh food I really give them is dandelion leaves as they won't hurt them. They get the odd few sunflower seeds every now and then as a treat.
They have to have a completely metal cage as plastic and wood are quickly chewed. Height is more important than floor space as they love to climb and usually seek out the highest point of the cage. They love a wheel and will spend hours running in it.
Degu's come from South America and are most closely related to guinea pigs and chinchillas. Guinea pigs live on the grassy plains at the bottom of the mountains, chinchillas live up the mountains and degus live in between.
I don't know if I'm allowed to put up a picture of a degu for those who don't know what one looks like.


Percy's Mom
05-13-06, 04:15 pm
Yep, picture post away. We'd love to see your degus.

05-13-06, 04:25 pm
This is the only decent pic I have at the moment. I will get some pics of my big cage at some point when it has been refurbished. It needs new shelves as they have chewed them all and their house only has a roof, one side and 3/4 of the floor left lol . The big cage houses females and the males are in a large chinchilla cage until we build their new cage.


05-13-06, 07:19 pm
Aww, they're cute. They look like a cross between a chinchilla and a guinea pig.

05-19-06, 12:56 am
I have 2 degus and researched them a ton and asked many questions at http://deguworld.proboards31.com/ They don't bite much if you don't corner them to get them out and NEVER grab there tail, they can rip it off as a defensive mechanism. As said they need lots of height and a wheel, get a big metal one, roughly the size of one for a chinchilla. lots of lots of items to dull down their teeths like "lava blocks" or something to that effect. for toys, go to the bird section! if you need anything else just ask or join the forum

05-19-06, 06:05 am
Thanks for that link, I've just registered with the site.

Mine run for miles and miles on their wheels lol