Species-Appropriate Keeping of Degus as Pets

Degus are very popular rodents as pets, which can become tame with the right attitude and patient attention. Read here what you need to consider when buying and how degus should be kept and fed appropriately to the species.

Anyone who decides to take in degus is taking on a responsible task. Because the small rodents can only enjoy their life as pets if they are kept and fed appropriately. The most important thing right at the beginning: degus are group animals and should never be kept alone.

Is the degu the right pet for me?

Before you get a degu, you should definitely ask yourself the following question. Only if you can answer all questions with “yes” are degus suitable as pets for you. And another tip: include your family members in the decision, because only if they also agree to the purchase of degus can a lasting peaceful coexistence be guaranteed.

  • Have I informed myself sufficiently about the demands and needs of the degus?
  • Do I have enough time to deal with the degus?
  • Am I familiar with the special diet of degus?
  • Am I willing to invest time cleaning the cage regularly?
  • What happens to my degus on vacation?
  • Are the costs for feed, bedding, and vegetables included in the household budget?
  • Am I willing to pay the vet costs associated with treating sick degus?
  • Am I aware that degus are not stuffed animals?
  • Am I willing to get at least two degus?
  • Do I have a second cage to keep a sick or injured animal separately (quarantine)?

Where do you get degus as pets?

Degus are now firmly established as pets, which is why they are now also offered in some pet shops. But it is better to buy directly from the breeder. Here you will receive detailed and expert advice. You will also get an insight into the previous housing conditions of the degus from the breeder. There are a number of tips here for keeping your own degu, which is of particular benefit to newcomers to degu keeping.

Unfortunately, with the increasing popularity of degus as pets, they are also becoming more common in animal shelters. In the meantime, almost every larger animal shelter regularly has degus in its stock. So it’s worth asking there if you want to get degus. There you will not only get husbandry tips and your new roommates, but at the same time, you can offer abandoned pets a new home in this way. Since degus are very sensitive to noise, they suffer greatly under the conditions in the shelter.

How to choose suitable degus as pets

In order to be able to enjoy your new housemates right from the start, you should only buy healthy degus, especially if you are a beginner. You will get the first indication of this when you look at the enclosure. Musty-smelling litter or heavy soiling are a warning signal. In such a case, refrain from making a purchase. Also, check whether the animals are sufficiently supplied with water and species-appropriate feed. Next, you should place value on a detailed consultation. You can also rate the seller’s handling of the animals. Does he stress the animals by constantly reaching into the enclosure to present them, or does he mostly leave them alone?

Important: Never buy an animal that has been poorly kept out of pity, as the seller will usually replace it with a new one very quickly. In this way, you support dubious sellers.

Once these points have been clarified, it is important to observe the animals in question from a distance. Healthy degus are lively and inquisitive and don’t run around distracted or lie around apathetically. If you have looked at an animal from afar, you should now subject it to a thorough health check.

Do not acquire a degu younger than eight weeks old, as socialization is not complete at this age. Scientific studies have shown that separating young degus from their parents too early can lead to serious developmental disorders.

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