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Degus - make such great pets
Member Name: Candyperfumegirl
Advantages: Make the greatest pets!
Disadvantages: Specific diet
My partner and I had been considering getting a new pet for quiet sometime but just couldnt decide what type of pet to get. We just knew we wanted something a little bit different. So when a friend mentioned that he kept pet Degus we were very interested, as I had not even heard of Degus before. They turned out to be just the type of little creatures we wanted and now our two guys are a big part of our family.
Degus come from the rodent family and originate from Chile in South America. They have yellow-brown fur. Their tails are long and thin with a black bushy tuft at the end, which is why they are often referred to as the "bush-tailed rat". They live for between six to eight years.
Degus are a very sociable and intelligent animal, and therefore make great pets. In the wild they live in communal burrows. It is very important to have more than one Degu, as they are much happier with a little buddy. They will often cuddle up together and just generally hang out together. My two guys are the best of friends. That being said, they do argue on occasion especially over food. I have found giving them seperate food bowls and water bottles usually sorts this out though. The more Degus are handled the more tame they become.
An appropriate cage is extremely important. Degus chew everything, so anything plastic is a definite no-no. I have heard of people using fish tanks to keep their Degus in, however we have found that a large three story cage was most suitable for our guys. They can develop problems with their feet when walking on mesh flooring though, so we have put down solid wooden bases for them. As Degus are very inquisitive, intellectual and active it is important that they have plenty to keep them occupied. They are extemely active and need lots of excercise. We have had a lot of fun buying and making things for them to play with in their cage. A wheel is essential and other things our guys love to play with include ropes, jingle balls, carboard tubes, small boxes, branches, wooden chewing toys and Coconut shells. We also gave our degus small stuffed cuddly toys, (actually made for barbie doll accessories) One was a small frog the other a pig, they absolutely love these and can often be seen carrying their soft toys around with them in their mouths, so cute! A large wooden nesting box with hay or bedding should also be provided, as everyone needs a snug place to catch some z's. A dustbath using chinchilla sand should be given a couple of times a week for grooming, this enables them to keep their coats in a clean and shiny condition.
There is a rather specific diet for Degus. Mainly they eat hay and degu pellets, both of which can be found in pet stores (eg pets at home). A small amount of cubed veg is also recommended once or twice a week and nuts, seeds and crackers can be given as a treat occasionally. There are some foods that should never be given to Degus, including anything that is high in fat and sugar as Degus are prone diabetes.
Degus really do make such lovely pets. I could sit and watch my guys for hours as they run around their cage jumping on and off platforms and onto branches. They are certainly a pet that need lots of love, care and attention. Like any animal, the more you give the more you get back, and i just cant imagine our guys not being such an important part of our family
Summary: Make the greatest pets!