Like other pets, degus are often bought as stuffed animals for children. But they are not. Here’s everything you need to know about dealing with kids with degus before you get degus.
Some people are unaware of the great responsibility involved in buying a pet and so degus are also bought again and again as toys and cuddly toys for children. However, the animals cannot and must not assume this role. Although curious, they are difficult to train and don’t want to be held or picked up. Degus are prey animals that need their keeper to feed them, otherwise, they prefer to be among themselves. And so only very few animals can be petted.
Under no circumstances should children run after degus or try to catch them when they are running around the house. This frightens the animals, especially when they have just moved in.
Proper handling of children with degus
Especially small children up to the age of three to eight years should only have contact with the degus if a parent is with them. Make it clear to your child that degus are sentient beings. Small children in particular still have little developed fine motor skills, which is why they could touch the degus too hard. On the other hand, the degus can also cause some harm to children with their teeth. Therefore, it makes sense to never leave small children alone in the degu enclosure. Depending on the development of the child, however, it can help with the care of the animals under supervision, thereby learning to take responsibility for a living creature.
From the age of ten to twelve years, children can look after their degus independently. However, it is the responsibility of parents to monitor and direct care and to intervene where necessary to prevent abuse.
Do not expect too much from your child, especially in the early days. Caring for a living being is not easy for children, and even adults sometimes find it difficult. So it can happen that your child doesn’t always think about his fosterlings, because so many exciting things happen in the children’s world that the care of the pets sometimes gets lost. In these cases, react prudently: scolding and accusations are not conducive to animal love, but at most achieve the opposite. If your child has forgotten to take care of the degus, you have to step in in this case.
The main responsibility for the degus lies with the parents
The main responsibility remains with the parents. They are also responsible for educating themselves in detail about the animals before acquiring degus and for passing on knowledge about degus behavior, feeding, care, and husbandry to their children. This is the only way children can learn to treat the animals with respect and consideration.
As a parent, urgently refrain from giving your children degus for birthdays or Christmas, but first consider whether your child is ready for this pet and can understand that degus are not cuddly toys, but rather independent and shy of touch.
If you decide your kids aren’t ready to handle degus properly, you should strongly refrain from buying one.
No degus in the children’s room!
Degus are still awake when children need their rest to sleep. And when it comes to their activities, degus are anything but quiet, which is why the children’s sleep is severely disturbed. Although some children still manage to sleep, the noise is still subconsciously absorbed and has an influence on the depth of sleep, which in the worst case even developmental disorders can result. Therefore, the degu enclosure should not be set up in the children’s room.