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

How to Handle a Degu

Strava osmákaHere are some important principles you should follow when handling an degu.

  • When we want to hold the degu, we have to be careful with it. First, we must have it tamed.
  • You must not pick up an degu from behind or from above (because in nature, predators attack them from above and may bite you). Simply put your hand in front of it, and wait for it to climb onto your hand. An degu won’t bite you, and if it does, it means it in a friendly way. However, an degu will never last very long in your hand.
  • NEVER pull on an degu’s tail, you could pull it off and then it would never grow back.
  • Degas need a diet rich in fiber and low in sugar to prevent health problems such as diabetes. Hay should be the basis of their diet, and you can also give them special pellets for degus. Avoid fruits and some vegetables with high sugar content.
  • Degus are very active and need plenty of space to run and exercise. It is important to have a large cage for them with different levels and places where they can hide, climb and play. Providing a treadmill without planks will also help keep them physically active.
  • Degu are very social animals and should be kept in pairs or groups at the very least to prevent them from becoming lonely or depressed. It is also important to spend time each day with your degu, playing and interacting socially.
  • They tend to bite and chew, so it is important that their cage and toys are made of safe, non-toxic materials. Check their environment regularly for signs of wear and tear or potential hazards.
  • Degus’ teeth are constantly growing, so they need hard objects such as wooden toys or twigs to chew on to keep their teeth the right length and healthy.
  • Regular health checks: As with all pets, it’s important to visit the vet regularly for preventative check-ups to ensure your degu is healthy. This also includes taking care of their claws and coat.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress or sudden changes in their environment. Degus are sensitive to temperature changes, loud noises and unfamiliar environments. Make sure they have a quiet, warm, draft-free place where they can feel safe.