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WHAT THE  *$!#  IS A DEGU???

Charlie acts as Degu guide (and Mountaineer in his spare time)

The Degu has been a new animal to clasify correctly.  When it was first discovered, it was likened to the squirrel.  And in subsequent years it has been grouped with Gerbils and Chinchillas. 

The Degu's Latin name is Octodon Degu, and has best been placed as a member of the Octodontidae family. This grouping basically means that the worn enamel on the surface of their teeth has a figure of eight pattern.  For the average pet owner, this information is of little use, but Deguís have often been used in medical research into diabetes. More about that in the feeding section!

As the picture of Charlie on the left shows, the Degu is a small brownish coloured rodent.  Click on the picture of Charlie and you will see close up how they look. There are some Degus that are black, but 99% of available Degus are this wild colour. For more detail on how they look, go to the appearance page using the shortcut on the left.

Degus are Diurnal, this means that they spend periods both during the day and during the night asleep, as well as being most active in the morning and early evening.  However, in captivity your Degu will be more responsive to when the room is light.  If you have a light bulb on in the room late at night, they will be active.  More of this in the behaviour section! 

The Degu comes from Chile, in South America, in an wide ranging environment from high elevated mountains to beaches and scrubland.  They therefore have no aversion to the cold, however they dislike extremes of heat or cold, and damp conditions. Degu's also like to be able to sunbathe, as long as they can get out of the sun whenever they want. 

The Degu is not a simple pet to keep.  They require a lot of attention, a large home to roam, and can live for up to 10 years! Although the average age is between 6 and 8, keeping a Degu on its own can reduce its lifespan due to boredom and loneliness.

Please refer to the factfile for a more detailed breakdown or these furry little critters.

Please read the next page to see if a Degu is right for you!