Degu is a rodent from South America, in a different way – the Chilean squirrel. Received a second name because of the habitat. Distributed in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. Degu is active during daylight hours, while night for her is sleep time. The rodent is easily tamed, trainable and at the same time very cute in appearance.
What does a Chilean squirrel look like?
Outwardly, the degu looks like a jerboa and a chinchilla. Here are a few characteristics that describe the Chilean squirrel:
- Body length from 9 to 22 cm, tail – up to 14 cm.
- Maximum weight – 250 g.
- Elongated head.
- The ears are rounded with slightly wavy edges.
- Small, dark eyes set wide apart from each other, with a yellow edging around.
- Vision is poorly developed, in return for this, the Chilean degu squirrel has excellent hearing and smell.
- Has 8 pairs of teeth, they grow throughout life.
- Hard and dense wool comes in two colors: brown-gray and brown-yellow.
Chilean degu squirrel – care and maintenance
The animal is distinguished by high cleanliness, so keeping the Chilean degu squirrel at home is not at all burdensome for the owners. The most basic thing a degu owner needs to know is:
- The rodent needs a large cage made of durable material (stainless steel will do). Ideal size: 120x60x100 cm.
- Squirrels do not tolerate strong odors, noise, drafts and high temperatures, so a dark place is well suited for a cage.
- The bedding is changed and the tray is cleaned as the animal’s toilet is dirty (you can use laundry soap).
- General cleaning is required once a month. You need to wipe the feeders with a napkin after each meal.
- Degu regularly takes sand baths. So she gets rid of an excess of moisture and accumulated fat in the wool. Ordinary sand has a bad effect on delicate skin and leads to hair splitting, so it is better to use a specialized one for chinchillas.
- The animal cannot be wetted, scratched and trimmed.
- It is not recommended to grab the animal by the tail: in times of danger, the squirrel sheds its skin and runs away. Without a coat, it dries up and falls off.
Degus breeders from America and Germany answered the question of how long Chilean squirrels live, so, with color it is 2-3 years, with natural color – about 8 years. The species of agouti rodents can live up to 12 years, as they have good immunity and are able to adapt to changes in living conditions. Degus are sold in pet stores, where you can find out how much a Chilean squirrel costs. As a rule, the price starts from $5.
Chilean degu squirrel – cage
The minimum dimensions of the habitat are 60x45x40 cm. The material is stainless steel, the animal gnaws plastic in no time. It is better if the cell has several floors. For a full life at home, the Chilean degu squirrel needs the following cage decoration:
- For the game, you can use different decorative elements (stones, roots and tree branches), which are placed throughout the territory.
- For sleep, a small wooden house is suitable; special shavings for rodents can be used as flooring.
- To grind claws and teeth into a cage, you can put a mineral stone.
- To bathe the Chilean squirrel, a sand bath is installed. To do this, you need to choose the corner farthest from the feeder.
- There should be two feeders – for hay and for other feed. A metal container is better, plastic and plastic will not last long.
- Nipple drinkers for small animals are more hygienic and convenient. Glass products are also suitable for this – the amount of content is clearly visible in them.
What to feed the Chilean squirrel degu?
Rodents are completely vegetarian, their diet is plant seeds, roots and herbs, so it is very convenient to keep the Chilean degu squirrel at home. Pet stores sell ready-made mixtures, for example, it can be Versele-Laga Nature Degu or the more budgetary Little One Degus. Solid vegetables and fruits can be given no more than 50 g per day. It is forbidden to add sweet foods to the diet: proteins are characterized by diabetes. You need to feed the degu 3-4 times a day in small portions – this way the food is better absorbed.
Why does the Chilean squirrel degu beat its tail?
This gesture can symbolize dissatisfaction with something. Often this happens due to the small size of the cage (the animals require a lot of space) or the settlement of another degu in it. The latter is fraught with fights between neighbors. A degu rodent can beat its tail as a sign of interest while communicating with its neighbors. Tapping is also characteristic of the Chilean squirrel during courtship before mating.
Why does the Chilean squirrel squeak?
The alarming state of rodents is accompanied by a number of unusual sounds. The squeak of Chilean degu squirrels expresses negative emotions: approaching danger, attacks, dissatisfaction with something. Often a rodent makes these sounds when its neighbor claims food or tries to warn and stop possible aggression from another degu. If the squeak did not help, the squirrel can push the enemy.