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Degu the outgoing little rodent


The degu (Octodon degus) is a rodent native to South America. It resembles gerbils or squirrels in appearance. The degu has grey-brown fur, large ears, a long tail covered in small hairs, and a "brush" at the end of its tail. The degu can live in captivity for up to 15 years in the wild, but rarely up to 10 years in captivity, usually 6-8 years. They are more closely related to rabbits and guinea pigs than to small rodents.

The Degu's behavior and lifestyle are similar to that of squirrels. Degus live in Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia in the wild, where they dig their own caves in rocks and other places to settle and store their food reserves. The caves they excavate are quite large and deep, reaching up to one metre in depth. Degus live in large colonies in the wild. They work long hours during the day and sleep late at night. They always have a plentiful supply of food and are constantly bringing vegetables and fruit to their cave. They are constantly guarding their caves and those of their relatives, with their eyes puffed out and their ears perked up. Wild degus prefer to hide a lot, but if kept in the house, they can easily become accustomed to human touch. Degus are very friendly and should be kept in groups of two or more, but if given enough time, they can live on their own, but it is important to interact with them as often as possible.

Degu is quite intelligent, and he can tell the difference between sounds and human voices. They distinguish between people, preferring to communicate with friends over strangers, and remember those who have wronged them. Degus rarely bite, except when startled by something, in which case the degu may bite and squeal. The tail is very sensitive, and if the degu is taken by the tail, the tip (the brush) can break off. Degas are bold and inquisitive, and they must be kept safe from other animals, cats, dogs, and household appliances. Allowing degus to run around unsupervised is dangerous because they like to taste everything and may chew on or eat something harmful.

Degus are very industrious animals and excellent builders, so provide twigs, boxes, or hay in the cage for the degu to build its own nest. Degas enjoys having their ears dug and being stroked.

What do I feed the degus?

1. Vegetables: pumpkins, courgettes, carrots, cabbage, boiled beets and potatoes, onions, radishes, leeks, celery, kohlrabi, boiled peas and cucumbers, watermelon seeds

Fruits include apples, pears, apricots, peaches, oranges, bananas, pineapples, plums, and kiwis.

3. Berries, such as strawberries, cherries, hawthorn, and gooseberries.

4. Cereals: oatmeal, wheat, oats, sunflower seeds, and soaked corn

Breadcrumbs, bread, raw eggs, oil, cottage cheese, jam, biscuits, waffles, salad, beetroot

6. Ground hazelnut nuts

7. Herbs such as dandelion and clover.

(8) Hay.

9. Aspen, apple branches with leaves and buds, chestnuts, hawthorn branches with berries, rosehips with leaves and twigs, and sea buckthorn berries and twigs.

About half of the items on this list will not be eaten by your degu, so it is best to experiment less and simply purchase a special degu feed. If you can't find it in the stores, hamster food, which is also suitable for degus, can be purchased. Not everything on this list is good for your pet, and it is not recommended to give degus any sweets, wafers, or other treats. Sugar is not digested by degus. In the summer, feed your degu special food, hay, apple twigs, apples, carrots, and fresh clean grass. This is the type of food that your degus will enjoy. It is common for the degu to not eat all of the ingredients in the food, especially if you feed your degu hamster food, so it is best to throw away what is not edible and not wait until the degu is forced to eat what it does not like. Feeding a degut should be done 1-2 times per day, depending on the amount and type of food you give your pet.

Purchase a special water bottle for your degu and replace the water every 1-2 days. Because degus are prone to oral infections, use chlorinated tap water.

Where to store the degu?

A simple rodent cage is preferable, but a terrarium may also suffice. The cage should be large enough to accommodate everything the degu requires, with plenty of room to run around. It is also a good idea to purchase a special wheel, typically used for hamsters, where the degu can run around. It is best to get a metal wheel rather than a plastic one, as plastic wheels are easily crushed. In my experience, a special cage is not always the best option; instead, it is sometimes better to purchase a terrarium or aquarium for the degu, as the degu likes to gnaw on everything and is free to chew through the plastic bottom of the cage and escape. The bottom of the cage or terrarium should be lined with compressed or plain sawdust. In the cage, use your imagination to build houses, ladders, mazes, and tunnels.

You will be able to tell how frequently you should change the sawdust because there should be no bad odor. It should be changed at least once a week. Also, the burrow must be "fed" on a regular basis; special sand is used for this purpose; you can usually find chinchilla sand in a pet store; it will be ideal for the burrow as well. When cleaning up the cage, move the degu to another cage or box filled with sand so your pet can have a 'bath.'

The degu reproduction

Degus can reproduce all year in captivity. They begin breeding at the age of 5-6 months. Gestation lasts approximately 90 days. Each year, between one and ten degus are born, with the average number being three or four. Lactation lasts between 2 and 4 weeks. The degu can reproduce up to three times per year. If they breed too frequently, degus may be born sickly or the female may die, so care must be taken to ensure that the degus do not breed too frequently, and the female or male must be transferred to another cage.

Degu’s are born with hair, teeth, and the ability to see. The male and the other cygnets do not need to be moved; their upbringing is the responsibility of the entire family. When the children are about 2 months old, they can be separated from their mother. During pregnancy, it is recommended, if not required, to provide the female with vitamins and minerals.

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