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SAND GLORIOUS SAND!
As already mentioned, your Degu needs somewhere to go to get off the wire bases. Many people recommend a deep base to stop the bedding from being kicked out of the cage. This is a very good idea, because not only is the Degu destructive, he is also very messy!
I began with sand for my Degus. The Degu loves to roll in the sand, in much the same way that a Chinchilla will. They use the sand to keep their coats clean. While a sand bath is also used to keep all the Degus in the colony smelling the same. The principle still applies in a cage, where each family member should smell the same to avoid confrontation.
Nb. Should one Degu have to be removed, even for a short time, they should be allowed to visit the sand bath before they see their cage mates!
This set up is fine if you are using an aquarium, but very messy in an open sided metal cage as they love to dig in the sand as well!
The photo above was taken halfway through changing the bedding. It was a warm summer day and the cage was outside. Gromit and Marmalade were able to make as much mess as they liked and it didn't matter!
I had been putting in a bowl of sand every few days for about 10 minutes. They would run to it the second it was put in and have a good bath. Then when they were finished I removed it before they destroy the bowl or empty out all of the sand! Now I have been able to buy a solid ceramic bowl with a roof that stays in the cage permanently. This means they can use the sand anytime they like. The photo on the right shows the new bowl. It was actually bought from a Garden Centre, and designed to be hung on the wall with plants trailing from it. A small bit of parcel tape on the hole in the base, and it has been a perfect addition to the cage.
WHAT TO SLEEP IN
In my cage I have used a variety of bedding designed for rodents, and also designed to keep smell down. (Your room would smell too if you had to use it as a toilet as well!) It is a dark grey colour, and very similar to sawdust. The carefresh range is very popular as it is specifically designed to minimise smell, the image to the right shows the bag, and it is available in most pet shops and garden centres!
I have used at other times sawdust – my boys have always loved to play in it when its fresh, and shredded paper. This was a by product of lots being shredded in the house, and has proved most effective, its finely shredded so its soft, its easy to create, and best of all its free!
Providing bedding has also become a game with my Degus. They go into the cage once the fresh substrate has been put in, and then I take kitchen or toilet paper and tear it into strips that I then hand to whoever is first to their door. They then build the bed how they want it! Click on the behaviour page to see them in action. (video link)