The Degus have arrived!

So in twelve days time it is mine (and Zoey’s) birthdays.

For my birthday my partner was going to get me a flight cage of finches, but after lots of conflicting information and then stumbling across two Degus in need of a home, we thought we’d adopt these little guys instead!

Degus look like rat-sized gerbils, although apparently they are closely related to Guinea Pigs and Chinchillas.

They make good pets and can enjoy handling, especially if socialised well whilst young. They are on the larger end of pet rodents, they’re very inquisitive, love to explore, and have a long lifespan for small rodents.

Mice live around a year, hamsters live a few and rats live somewhere in between. Degus, on the other hand, live around 6 – 9 years!

Similar to gerbils, degus LOVE to chew everything, and must be provided with plenty of things to gnaw on. They are such amazing chewers that keeping them in a ‘normal’ cage (ie. plastic base and barred top) can be a terrible idea as they will chew out!!

These two boys, called Mario and Luigi, seem to have had a really good life so far. They are two years old, and although they are skittish their previous owner tried to do absolutely everything right. Lucky boys πŸ™‚

Unfortunately the owner also had four cats, one of which was a young kitten, and they were constantly bothering the Degu boys. So we’ve adopted them!

degu

They came with this cage which costs Β£90 new (yay Pets At Home, with their incredibly expensive products and their terrible advice…) It’s a good size and bloody amazing considering we paid Β£25 for everything, but we’re hoping to upgrade them…just don’t know how.

The boys also came with wood shavings, hay, food, sand, a nest box, a coconut chew toy, the football hanging chew toy, a food bowl, a mineral block and a gigantic wheel – WOW! *And* the owner gave us a lift home so the taxi wouldn’t have to wait out front whilst we captured the Degus!

We added a few levels made from woven placemats, rocks, a box full of hay and tied up all the toys they came with.

degu1

Clockwise L-R: wheel, mat / levels, football chew, rocks, hanging holey toy, nest box and rocks!

We also have five shelves of varying sizes, a massive natural branch, a few grass hammocks and extra chew toys on the way.

The boys are utterly adorable, although we don’t know whether to keep their names…we’re thinking about changing them to Toshi and Takka πŸ™‚

degu2

Re-released into the cage

degu4

They’re incredibly hard to tell apart, but so far I’ve noticed one has a slightly light band around their ears, and the other doesn’t…really hard to tell unless they’re close to the front and next to each other though XD

One is braver than the other, whereas one is much more reserved and shy. Here’s our little shy guy

degu5

And Mr Brave Pants!

degu6

They’re still very ‘aagh new place, aaagh!’ which is to be expected. Hopefully they’ll feel a little more confident in a few days, and will start exploring and having fun.

degu7

Also, this arrived for Zoey’s birthday today, and OMB IT’S MASSIVE!!!

octopus1

Seriously, here it is next to a normal drinks bottle, and the XL Nylabone :O

octopus

She is gonna love this sooo much XD

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16 thoughts on “The Degus have arrived!

    • Haha awesome! They’re kind of a ‘new’-ish rodent in the UK, and most people have never heard of them…I’ve only seen them in one major pet shop chain, never in any other pet shops.

      Our local zoo has a massive outdoor shed enclosure with a huge group of degus living in it, which is cool, and our local petting farm has a pair that are really tame and everyone can handle πŸ™‚

    • We’re ever expanding πŸ˜€ Thanks, they seem to have settled a little today…they’re choosing to sleep on a shelf and one even came to inspect me when I said good morning!

    • I feel like I got degus AND finches, because some of their vocalisations are very finch-like…was not prepared for that at all. All five of us were very bemused when we first heard chirping!! πŸ˜€

      The thing I like about the Octopus toys are that, once the body has been maimed and all the legs pulled off, I can give her a single leg to play with daily. So if the body lasts one day and each leg also lasts a day (remember she doesn’t get toys 24/7 due to Kasper’s resource guarding) then it should last 9+ days…not bad for a stuffed toy πŸ˜€

      • I bet you were a little amazed to hear chirping LOL
        9 days ?? that will be good going , George – Oscars birthday toy is still hanging on ..minus his arms and a deceased squeak so good Ol’ George is a winner πŸ™‚

    • They’re really sweet, and I’m sure if you get them young and especially from a good breeder I’d imagine taming them is ridiculously easy…hopefully I’ll make some progress with these guys, taking it at their own pace πŸ™‚

  1. Aww so cute love them! We have two of our own called Cain and Abel because although they are small in size their personalities are on a biblical scale! Lol degus make great pets but I’ll give two warnings in case you aren’t already aware one they are extremely susceptible to diabetes so no sugary food and two you might notice them boxing or grabbing each other shoulders and “fighting” along with squeeks and other noises, this is totally fine and harmless, but if they become quiet and lock into the death ball, like in the sims game where you make the people fight and they end up in a rolling ball of cloud, then you will need to break it up as they will inflict harm to each other. Sorry if that’s freaks you out or scares you but we’ve had them over a year and a half and they have only had serious fights with injuries 3 times in total so not the worst.

    They are lovely little creatures and you will definitely have a laugh with their antics, we’ve even taught Cain to spin on command for his food XD

    • Hahahaha no way, this is awesome!! Thank you so much for the advice πŸ˜€

      Can I ask what size cage you have them in, and do they get outside play time daily?

      These two are in a Thickets cage (slightly smaller than 100 x 60 x 50cm) so I really want to add on to it, but I have no idea how – we are both terrible at DIY, and seeing as we got such a decent sized cage for so cheap it seems a waste to just replace it completely :/

      I have read about the diabetes so I need to look up what yummy treats they can have – feel free to suggest any πŸ˜€ I guess fruit is out, can they have veggies??

      We’re used to squabbles with rodents but will keep an eye out for the silent fighting, I didn’t know about that – I love the Sims analogy XD

      If they have a serious fight, do you just split them up (I guess using a towel, glove or book between them?) and are they good to be left together immediately afterwards?

      They’re still unsettled and extremely nervous, but they have just come from a house where they were taunted and stalked by four cats to a house full of noisy dogs XD

      Omb I love that you taught Cain to spin!! I’ve taught our rescue rat a few tricks (he’s on his own so need to keep him stimulated!) but just basic ones πŸ™‚

      • We have them in this cage from below although we didn’t get it from this site as we had to find somewhere that would ship to NI since we’re not on the mainland. Its a full metal cage (the first edition had plastic trays so made sure to get the 2nd edition) mahttp://www.cagesworld.co.uk/p/Liberta_2nd_Edition_Explorer_Rat,_Ferret_and_Chinchilla_Cage.htm

        We had them originally in the thickets but we decided to upgrade to try to help stop fighting because they would have more room to get away from each other but I don’t think the bigger size has made a difference in the fighting, but what it would help with is if we ever need to fully separate them after a fight they can live alone in each half of the cage if we block off the opening on the 2nd floor so that was one of the main reasons we got it as well.

        I’ve seen pictures online of people getting two thickets cages and attaching them side by side so that could be something to check out, wouldn’t know the specifics or how hard it would be to do.

        We have been pretty bad recently and haven’t let them out to explore as much but they don’t seem too bothered by it, when we originally had them in the thickets Cain would bite the bars a lot from I think boredom, and so I knew they needed out for a bit to stretch their legs, he does it a bit now but seems mostly for attention as he stops when we baby talk to him lol when we let them out we usually let them out in the bathtub as they are bloody daredevils and will clamber down or leap off of sofas and beds, and on the floor they inevitably end up in some nook and cranny we can’t reach and then we have to try and lure them out with food or their sandbath. Some people use rabbit runs for outside cage time.

        If they do ever fight yea a tea towel or oven glove is your best bet for your own protection as they bite hard! they can be very quick and hard to separate but you need to get them away from each other and let them cool down for a bit, so we would take them out separately and clean their wounds (yes their wounds can be pretty nasty ) with water on a cotton bud or kitchen roll and dry the wounds too as they don’t do well with water on their coat. We generally keep them separated just for 5 or 10 minutes and then put them back together and keep an eye out to see if they try fighting again but usually they will be all sad looking and avoiding each other then you’ll eventually see them sleeping together and cuddling again. Very rarely you will get some that will need to be separated for a longer time and then gradually reintroduced but don’t have any experience with that. Also if they have any open wounds hold off from giving them a sand bath until they heal as the wound will get all nasty from sand going into it.

        For treats we use mostly dried herbs that we get from pets at home, sometimes plain puffed rice (maybe 5-6 times a week) and they got a hazelnut with the shell on for Christmas XD they can have nuts only about once a month as they are high in protein and their little livers can’t handle much.

        Just realised I’ve done a total word dump above so going to leave this facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/845661938779657/ that is really active and friendly and has lots of info on different things in the files section but if you have any more specific questions fire away!

        Also for giggles I recommend holding a toilet roll in their cage, most of them will enthusiastically unroll it to use it as bedding and is hilarious to see them really get into it.

      • Awesome, I really really appreciate such an in-depth reply, thank you so much for taking the time to write it πŸ™‚

        Oh man I looove that cage, I wish we had the room or money to buy it XD I’m hoping we can find either a second Thickets cage or a barred topper to attach…so far we have an old bird cage we used for quarantines we can add (just the wire sides, not the plastic base) which will give them a little more room, but it’s still only about 50cm x 40cm extra :/

        The confusing thing about rodents is that although they’re all very similar, there are small differences between them all…for example male guinea pigs shouldn’t be separated (even for the vets) as it can cause trouble putting them back together, and if you keep male mice together and they fight they need separating for life…so I’m really grateful that you shared your knowledge and the FB page πŸ˜€

        Hahaha we do the toilet roll with our rat!! He LOVES it πŸ˜€ Also we dangle cooked spaghetti from the roof of his cage that he has to pull down, which is hilarious to watch, although I’m not sure if that would be degu-friendly πŸ˜€

        I need to try and set up an area where the boys can free-range, but they’re so untamed that catching them would be a huge pain…getting them out the cage and into the transport box at their old owners’ house took about half an hour XD

      • No problem I’m definitely not the most knowledgeable so that group is good for double checking anything you’re not sure of, I keep trying to convince my fiance to get rats but he thinks we have enough pets, how silly of him lol they will soon get used to their new home and tamer and they are smart enough to hear their food bags rustling and realise it’s dinner time so could be a good start to a degu recall XD

      • Ah yes, food. The key to most pets’ hearts XD

        I love rats. I had my first pair when I was about 10 years old. They were from a really terrible pet shop but they were utter sweethearts. They would sit on your lap / shoulders for hours πŸ˜€

        Four years later I adopted a female rat from a friend of a friend, and added a pet shop rat as her sister. They were fairly tame and could run free and be handled, but didn’t *love* humans.

        Then me and my partner got rats from a breeder about four years ago. Breeder rats are amazing and those two were so friendly and licky πŸ™‚

        And now we have Archie, who is a work in progress but seems very happy with his life so that’s good enough for me πŸ˜€

        Interested to see how degus compare to rats, although may have given degus a slight disadvantage by getting older rescue ones instead of youngsters!

  2. Pingback: A little bit of DIY :) | Scarlybobs' Blog

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