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How to Keep a Degu
A degu is a small rodent which comes from Chile. They are friendly, curious creatures and can make excellent pets. To keep a degu, make sure they have the right environment. A degu needs a spacious cage with plenty of hiding places and perches. Make sure you feed your degu a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients. You should also entertain your degu. Degus need a lot of socialization to be healthy and happy. It's a bad idea to only keep a single degu as a pet. You should always keep degus in groups.
Setting Up the Right Environment
Make sure to get a big cage.Degus need a lot of space to be healthy and happy. They are very active animals and will not do well in a smaller cage. Opt for the biggest and largest cage you can fit in your apartment.
- As degus are not a popular pet, you may not be able to find a cage specifically designed for degus. However, you can get a cage for a chinchilla or another rodent.
- You should also make sure the cage doesn't have any plastic parts. Degus will chew through plastic. A metal cage, or a cage made with chew-proof plastic, is best for a degu.
Give your degu hiding areas.Degus are social, but they also need some privacy during the day. You should have a lot of boxes your degus can hide in if they crave privacy.
- You can make a hiding place using a cardboard box or a large cardboard tube. You can simply place a box or tube in the cage for your degu to hide in.
- You can also buy hiding boxes and toy caves at a local pet store. Make sure, however, all the materials used are safe for animals the size of degus.
Provide perches and ledges.Degus love to climb, so make sure the cage has perches and ledges to keep your degu active during the day. You can buy bird perches and ledges at a local pet store and install them in your degu's cage. You can also install hammocks, but be careful to supervise your degu when it's using the hammock. Degus will chew through rope-like materials, so remove the hammock from the cage when you're not around.
Clean your degu's cage regularly.In order to stay healthy, degus need their cages clean. Your degu will spend most of its life in its cage, so make sure to clean it regularly to keep the cage free of bacteria.
- You should clean the cage out once a week, removing any droppings, spilled food, or other debris from the bottom of the cage. You should also remove any old bedding and replace it with new bedding.
- You should also wipe down things like toys and food and water bowls. If a food or water bowl is very dirty, remove it and clean it with soap and water before returning it to the cage.
- You should also change the bedding when you clean the cage. A degu's cage should be lined with a layer of bedding from a pet store. You should remove all the bedding once a week and replace it with new, fresh bedding.
Feeding Your Degu
Mix guinea pig and chinchilla pellets.You may not be able to find food specifically made for degus. You can mix guinea pig pellets and chinchilla pellets and feed this to your degu as the primary form of food.
- Degus cannot process sugar or carbohydrates, so make sure you choose pellets that do not contain molasses.
Supplement their diet with vegetables.Degus enjoy sweet potatoes, dandelions, and leafy vegetables. They also eat a lot of hay, so they should have a continuous supply of hay in their cages.
- If you feed your degu potatoes, make sure to remove the skins. Potato skin can be toxic for degus.
- As degus cannot process sugar, fruit and dried fruit are not good treats for a degu.
Ask your vet about vitamin supplements.If you're worried about your degu getting the right vitamins and nutrients, talk to your vet about supplements. As you may not be able to find food specifically made for degus, supplements may be necessary to keep your degu healthy.
- Make sure you find a vet that knows how to treat small animals like degus.
Avoid treats containing sugar.Degus cannot process sugar. If you give your degu sweet treats, stick to fresh fruit. Anything with sugar can be very harmful to a degu, so do not purchase treats containing sugar.
- You should also stay away from treats that are high in fat or contain honey.
Entertaining Your Degu
Allow degus to play outside their enclosure.While degus will be in their cages for most of their lives, they are social and active animals. You need to give your degu time out of its cage on occasion to keep it happy and entertained.
- Degus enjoy fresh air and sunshine, so play with your degu next to a window. Avoid taking a degu directly outside, as degus can escape easily and are hard to catch.
- Give your degu some time out of the cage at least once a day.
Make sure your degu exercises.Your degu needs the chance to exercise during the day, even when its not out of the cage. Make sure your degu has access to an exercise wheel. No degu should be kept in a cage without a wheel. The perches and ledges in a cage will also allow a degu to exercise, as they can jump and climb.
- A metal exercise wheel that's at least 11 to 12 inches across is best for a degu.
Respect your degu's personal space.Degus do like to socialize with their owners. However, degus do not like to be held or cuddled. Allow your degu to come to you, and limit the amount of time you spend holding it.
- If you just got your degu, give it a few days to settle in before you attempt to hold or cuddle it.
Supervise your degu at all times.When your degu is out of the cage, do not let it out of your sight. Degus can escape easily and, due to their size, are not easy to catch. You also want to make sure your degu does not get hurt when playing outside of the cage.
- Keep your degu away from wooden furniture, cables, and plants.
Keep more than one degu.It's a bad idea to keep a single degu. Degus are social animals and do not do well as single pets. You should have at least two degus at a time. However, degus generally do well in larger groups. Consider adopting three to four degus instead of just one.
QuestionHow do you hold a degu?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should not hold a degu unless it's necessary. If you do pick up a degu, do so gently while supporting its entire body. Never pick up a degu by the tail.Thanks!
QuestionCan I increase the life expectancy of my Degu with proper care and treatment?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA degu is more likely to live for its full life expectancy if it's cared for properly. However, you can't increase a degu's lifespan simply through proper care. There is no way of knowing exactly how long a degu, or any pet, will live.Thanks!
QuestionWhat type of fruit should I feed my Degu?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is best to never feed your degu fruit, as fruit has too much sugar and can lead to them getting diabetes.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I wash my degu?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDegus need regular sand baths, so fill a large bowl with chinchilla dusting sand. They will roll around and clean their coats.Thanks!
QuestionFor two male degus, do I need a 2 or 3 story cage?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is no strict rule on the size of a degu's cage, but it should be as big as you can reasonably afford and fit in your home. Your degu would appreciate a two to three story cage if it's within your budget.Thanks!
QuestionThinking of getting a Degu, but I would like to have it sit with me during the day while it free roams and is comfortable in my affection. Do they all hate human affection?Nic Nic DennisCommunity AnswerA good way to train your Degu to return to it's cage is to bell-train him. Let him be for 3 days without disturbing him, simply feeding him. You can wear an old shirt to bed and in the morning cut it to shreds and place it in his cage. This will allow him to get used to your scent. Feed him out of your hand, then ring a bell before you bring food or treats to his cage. Soon he'll associate the bell with returning to his cage for food.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my degu to stop biting me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake your hands smell like their bedding so they get used to your scent. Once you have done that, put food on your hand and let it come to you. Do this regularly so that they get used to you.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are some fun things I can do with my Degu?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDegus are very independent, you don't need to play with them. Let them figure out what's fun for them.Thanks!
QuestionCan I keep males together?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMales can be kept together, but if they fight, you should look into the root cause (aggression, dominance, worries over food, etc.). Making a few small changes might help stop any aggression.Thanks!
QuestionIs it bad to keep two male Degus together?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should never keep two male degus together because they will fight, but two females should be okay together.Thanks!
How do I keep my degu from being lonely?
Can I keep a male and female in the same cage?
My pet has become listless and just lays in the corner of his cage?
What if you got one Degu because either was fighting with all the other degus?
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