What kind of Degu information should you have if you are thinking of bringing home a pet? Of course, you’ll need to find out what breed of Degu you want. You will need to know what kind of habitat to provide for them. And you’ll need to know how to feed and take care of them. Here’s a basic overview to help you get started. All of the types of pet degu can live in colonies successfully if you take care to make sure the genders are separated. It is important not to allow accidental breeding, because the colonies could get overpopulated very quickly if that occurs. Female degus are in heat approximately every four days, gestation takes less than three weeks, and as many as 14 degu pups can be born in each litter. So keeping the genders separated is an absolute must if you decide you want to keep colonies.
How much do Degus cost?
Degus can cost as much as $40, however you are often able to find cheaper pets available at pet stores.
In the wild, Degus are nocturnal and cover a lot of territory every night as they search for food. So they’re used to running around in large spaces. But as pets in the home, they need to be confined to cages. It is important not to let them run around free, because they can wander into crevices, get lost, end up eating furniture or electrical wiring, or become prey for the family cat or dog. Degu cages are necessary for their safety. But they won’t get the exercise they need to stay healthy unless you furnish the cage with some appropriate toys. Degu wheels are perfect for this. But make sure you get solid hamster wheels (without rungs) for degus because they are safer for their tiny legs and feet.
Degus eat a wide variety of foods in the wild. They eat seeds, grasses, grains, crickets, meal worms, vegetables and fruits. So the best diet you can provide for your degus is one that approximates their natural diet as closely as possible. Even though pet stores sell degu “treats”, you can save your money. Just use tiny portions of a food that they like. It’s healthier for them than giving them degu junk food, and they like it just a much.
When caring for your pet degu, it’s important to be aware of their overall health. This includes being knowledgeable about their general health conditions, and being able to recognize signs of degu illnesses. A somewhat common dental problem for pet degus is and overgrowth of incisors which can injure the roof of the mouth. This condition can occur from malnutrition or injury and must be treated by a vet. Weight loss, drooling, bad breath and loss of appetite are the main symptoms to watch for. Although not technically an illness, degus are so small that their bones are quite fragile. As a result they can be easily injured is they fall, jump from heights or are dropped. Unfortunately, it is all too common for them to fall off of a table or a high surface while inside of an exercise ball and suffer broken legs or backs. There is no cure for this, and they should be taken to a vet for proper evaluation.
Degus can suffer from heat stroke when they get too hot. Symptoms to watch for are lethargy, limpness, sweat and matted fur. The proper response must be applied within 20 minutes, or the animal could die. Put the hamster immediately in a cool location with plenty of cold water available, along with cold fruits with high water content, like apples. If a degu gets too cold, it could go into hibernation, become non responsive and possibly die within 20 minutes. The correct treatment is to place the degu in a warm location, taking care not to let it overheat, and keep it warm for about 10 hours.
Bladder stones are somewhat common in degus, but they can only be treated by a vet. If you pet loses its appetite, drinks more water than usual and urinates frequently take it to a vet as soon a possible for treatment.
Tumors occur often in older females, and can sometimes be removed if they are external. But if they are internal, it’s probable that they cannot be treated due to the animals small size. Watch for odd behaviour and hair loss, and take your pet to a vet for diagnosis.
Wet tail is a serious type of diarrhea that can occur as a result of stress. Bloody or watery stools are the most obvious signs. There is danger of dehydration, and the condition should be treated by a vet. Salmonellosis can be contracted from eating contaminated fruits and vegetables, and may be passed along to humans. It can be avoided by washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before feedings. Demodectic mange is a parasite that lives in the skin and hair. Although it can be treated by a vet, it may be a result of a weakened immune system due to other more serious problems. Intestinal parasites, like tapeworms or pin worms, must be treated by a vet. Take precautions when handling pet degus if you suspect these parasites, since they can be easily transmitted to humans.