©Degu-Digest 2015


If you have any further questions ​please ask on the Degu Health & Behaviour group on Facebook. Please click here







Degu-Digest



​1.Inestrosa, N.C.; Reyes, A.E.; Chacon, M.A.; Cerpa, W.; Villalon, A.; Montiel, J.; Merabachvili, G.; Aldunate, R. et al. (2004), "Human-like

rodent amyloid-beta-peptide determines Alzheimer pathology in aged wild-type

Octodon degus", Neurobiol. Aging 26 (7): 1023–8, doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2004.09.016, PMID 15748782

This website was created as a guide in helping you to make better decisions in caring for your degus. In all of the combined years that we, the creators of this website, have owned degus, we all agree that there is too much conflicting,  dangerous and confusing information on all aspects of degu care. 


We will discuss diet and why we think it's important to feed as close to a natural diet, including leaves, roots, flowers and seeds, as possible; enclosure size and why providing the largest enclosure that you possibly can will enhance their lives and help prevent repetitive, disruptive and disturbing behaviour, 

behavioural/ social needs and why it is absolutely vital that they have the company of other degus, and finally the many health issues that degus suffer from, which are much more common than many people realise. 


Created by a group of very dedicated people who would like to help all degu owners, new and experienced alike, to understand the care and often complex needs that are required to give these wonderful small creatures the lives that they truly deserve. 


​What is a degu?


Octodon Degus are a type of highly social rodent that are native to central Chile where they live in semi arid shrub land conditions, they travel many miles per day which is why, in captivity, they need as much ground space as possible. By comparison to other rodents their life span is relatively long with the average degu living between 5 and 8 years although there are exceptions depending upon genetics and quality of care. 


Contrary to popular belief their needs are not as simple as some people are led to believe. They need very large enclosures, the bigger the better. A fairly strict diet is necessary to prevent dental and other health problems and although they absolutely need other degus to live with in order to be truly happy, their co-habitating relationships can be testing, particularly at certain times of the year when they are very hormone sensitive. 


Degus are considered significant pests on Chilean agricultural land where they often eat potato and wheat crops. It is believed that they were originally considered ideal experimental subjects for laboratories to research diabetes mellitus (a metabolic disease) due to their high dietary sugar intolerance and their circadian rhythms (body clock) due to them being largely a diurnal (awake during the day) mammal. It has also been noted that in some older degus neural markers have been discovered that are very similar to those seen in humans suffering with Alzheimer’s disease (one type of dementia resulting in brain degeneration) this is the first time that this has been seen in a wild type rodent. From being experimental modules, they then started to slowly become popular as pets due to their intelligent, inquisitive natures and longevity in comparison to some other rodents.​1