Degus Common Habits

Card image cap

Degus are small rodents with grayish-brown coats, which could be lighter on the underpart. Their tails exhibit a black, bushy tip. They are the closest relatives of the highly social and curious animals; guinea pig and chinchilla. The males and females look alike even though females are 10% smaller than males. Their newborn can see and start exploring the environment during the first few hours of their lives. They are very vocal animals that usually live 3 – 4 years in the wild and 5 – 8 years in captivity.

Degus which fall under the class of native Chileans are also referred to as the brush-tailed rat because it looks like a rat but with a hairy tail. The name degu is said to mean mouse or rat in the Mapuche language, which is spoken in parts of Chile and Argentina. So what would it be like having a degu as a pet? Check out these degu behaviours.

Degus Common Habits

 1. Chewing And Chomping

Just like other rodents, your degu has an intrinsic desire to chew on something. Its incisor teeth continuously grow, so it will need to chew to keep its teeth from overgrowing.

If you plan to keep a degu as a pet, you need to give it appropriate items like  Degu toys to chew up. It is good for its health. It is also good as it keeps home furnishings, particularly electrical cords safe.

Don’t even think of allowing your degu to have free-roam in a room without pet-proofing it first, which includes protecting or relocating wires and other cords it might find.

2.  Degus Love Digging

Degus spend part of their days above ground foraging for food in the wild. Your pet degu will also want to dig a tunnel/create a burrow, so you can help it feel most at home by offering a rodent-safe bedding material for him to dig and tunnel through. Degus are diurnal, so expect to see your degu most active in the late evening and early morning hours.

3.  Hiding Food

Don’t get upset when you see your pet Degu burying extra food in its cage or around your home. A degu has an obsession with checking up on its stash (it would be seen unearthing it and covering it up again), so giving attention to your Degu’s behaviour would help you know where it has hidden some Degu food.

4. Peeing

Degus mark their territory by urinating on objects and areas within it. This means that your degu might pee on its bowls, bath, toys, and any other item that it deems worthy of its possession so get you some Degu Healthcare & Cleaning materials. If you have more than one degu, the dominant one will likely pee the most and will even pee on whatever another degu has peed on to show his dominance. Some degu owners put rags in favoured areas for their degus to pee on to keep this marking behaviour limited to certain locations.

5. Sounds

Degus make a lot of sounds. An annoyed degu would chatter its teeth, making it sound like grinding. A rapid flow of squeaks signifies that the degu is scared; it is a way of grabbing your attention, so you’ll know to check on your degu if you hear it.

Hopefully, you’ll hear your degu make a warbling or chirping sound as it means that your pet is happy and content.

6. Tail Wagging

Your degu will wag its tail due to hormones.  A female degu might wag her tail to let a male know that she is in breeding mode and they also might tail wag or stomp the tail on the ground as a way of showmanship.

Speaking of tails, a degu’s tail can come off if it is grabbed up by his tail and, unlike lizards, a degu will not regrow its tail. Never pick up your degu by its tail, and be thorough when closing his cage door, as this can also result in an injury to its tail.


Leave a Reply