Information for current and future keepers of the popular rodent - the common degu.

Common Degu

Octodon Degus (Latin: Octodon degus) is becoming quite a well-known rodent in our country and is becoming a favorite pet that is also suitable for children. It measures around 6 inches in length and its tail is approximately the same length, with an average weight of about 200 grams. It is not exactly an animal that can cuddle with you for hours, as they are very active and need plenty of space to “frolic.” If you are choosing among small rodents to keep, a degu can become the right pet for you due to its playfulness, intelligence, and low maintenance, and it will entertain you for a significant part of your life.

Common degu

Information for breeders

Care and breeding of degus

Caring for degus is somewhat different due to some specifics from caring for other small rodents such as hamsters or dwarf rabbits.

How to care

How to tame a degu

The intelligence of degus, unlike other small rodents, allows you to teach them to come when called, for example.

How to tame

Choosing a degu

Key rules for choosing a degu - from a healthy youngster, understanding gender, and possibly pairing with your existing pet.

How to choose octodon


How to properly set up a home for your degu and provide a safe and stimulating environment. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of terrariums and cages.

How to house animal

Characteristics of a degu

  • It is a diurnal animal, so unlike a hamster, you don’t need to wake it up when you want to play with it or give it attention (note: a hamster is a so-called polyphasic animal, it sleeps during the day and is active at night).

  • It is very intelligent, can be easily tamed, or even taught to come when called.

  • It is suitable for children because it is not aggressive and only bites in extreme cases when it feels threatened.

  • It has a relatively long lifespan – up to 7 years (but there are exceptions of degus living up to 9-12 years).

  • And last but not least, it does not smell as much as other rodents.

More detailed information

The degu was imported to Europe (and then to our republic) from South America for diabetes research – degus have a low ability to metabolize sugars and essentially have permanent diabetes, which is important to consider when choosing the right food. Its home is in the pampas of Chile, Peru, and Argentina, where it is nicknamed the Chilean squirrel. It is most commonly found in its natural brown-black color with lighter fur coloring around the eyes.

The name “octodon degu” is derived from the shape of the chewing surfaces of its molars, which have the shape of the number eight.

In the wild, they live in large family groups, so it is recommended not to keep them as a single animal. In that case, you have to pay much more attention to it than when you have more degus. An ideal group for domestic breeding is two to three degus (with one male).