Degus as pets: special features of rodents

Degus only became established as pets in this country in the eighties. The cute rodents are very demanding to keep, but are also a lot of fun. Read more about Degus' husbandry here. Degus are extremely social and cuddly animals that should only ever be kept in groups - Shutterstock / Kelly Postma

Degus are still relatively unknown as pets compared to other rodents such as guinea pigs or hamsters. If you want to buy Degus as pets, you should definitely know what a species-appropriate husbandry looks like.

Keep degus as pets: Always in a group

Degus are pack animals that should never be kept as pets without their own kind, as they would otherwise become lonely and die. Therefore, keep at least two, ideally three to five animals in the enclosure. Degus are extremely social and only really happy in society. It is particularly exciting for us humans to watch the rodents cuddle, play and clean each other with their peers.

Ranking struggles are completely normal at Degus and nothing to worry about. Especially in larger groups, the pecking order is redetermined every now and then. A specialty of the animals originating from Chile: In contrast to most other rodents, they are diurnal.

Degu enclosures should be large and versatile

If you keep degus as pets, you need a large, species-appropriate enclosure. Since the agile pompoms can also nibble on hard materials, you should think about a large cage with metal struts or a glass terrarium. Plan at least one to two square meters of floor space for a smaller group. At best, the Degu enclosure has several floors that are connected with branches, bridges and stairs. It is important that you put together an enclosure that is as creative as possible, otherwise the curious animals will quickly get bored. The basic equipment includes:

• Stable food bowl
• Potions
• sand bath (for grooming)
• Small animal litter
• Hay rack
• Dormitory or dormitories made of stable material such as stone
• Creative furnishings and game elements such as tubes, ceramic caves, corridors, impeller (please big enough!) And climbing opportunities

Rodents as pets: small and very cute

Important: It is best not to use any plastic items of furniture, as these will be nibbled quickly by the gnawing animals - this can swallow small bits. If you use wood interior, you have to be aware that you have to change the respective item over time, as Degus really likes to gnaw. The video shows you more about enclosure and keeping:

Other tips for keeping: nutrition and employment

Before you buy it, you should definitely deal with the appropriate diet from Degus. These mainly feed on green fodder. So hay should always be available. Herbs and grasses are also an important part of the degu diet. In addition, the small mammals love hard roots, with which they also care for their teeth. You can also feed a carrot every day, but you should make sure that the vegetables from the supermarket are free of harmful substances. Organic vegetables are important because degus are very sensitive to pesticides and herbicides. Since the animals tend to diabetes, it is best to avoid fruits and any added sugars. Cereals are allowed in small quantities, but should only make up a small part of the degu diet.

In the video you can see what Degus is looking forward to in terms of employment: