Daegu is a species of South American rodents, found in countries such as Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia. Sometimes this animal is called the Chilean squirrel, as it is really very similar to the habitual for many forest dweller.
It is also small, because its body size rarely exceeds 20 centimeters, and the weight is usually 500 g. The tail length, which, by the way, is not very fluffy and can have a brush at the tip, is about 10-15 cm. The fur is soft and short, the color can vary from yellowish-brown to brown-gray, but spotting or other tones are possible, for example, blue (it is obtained due to artificial breeding of new species). The muzzle is elongated, the eyes are small.
Degus are predominantly diurnal and are active in the daytime, but prefer to sleep in novus. If you wonder how long such animals live, then under favorable conditions of life expectancy can exceed seven to eight years.
Providing comfortable accommodation
If you plan on keeping a degu, then get a cage. And it should be spacious enough and high so that the pet has the opportunity to move freely and throw out energy. The optimal size of the dwelling of one animal is 60x40x40 centimeters. The bottom can be covered with wood chips or paper scraps.
In the cell must certainly be present:
- Feeding trough, and it is desirable to use a metal one, since degus can simply gnaw containers of other materials.
- Automatic special drinker for rodents.
- House In it, your pet will sleep soundly at night and hide from prying eyes.
- Running wheel is also a mandatory attribute, because the degu are very active and love to run.
- Sand tank in which the animal will take baths and clean its wool.
- A few twigs. Their degus will be used for grinding teeth, which is necessary for proper development.
It is important not only to equip the cage, but also to clean it regularly. This should be done as far as pollution, rubbing the rods and bottom and replacing a layer of sawdust.
Advice: since the rodents in question do not tolerate cold, direct sunlight and drafts, the cage should be placed in a place protected from the sun and wind and a warm enough place.
How to care?
Degu care at home requires compliance with the following conditions and rules:
- The squirrel degu is an active animal, so do not limit the territory of its habitat to just one cell. Periodically let your pet out for a walk. But be prepared for tricks, so for the preservation of property, all breakable, wooden, textile and plastic objects that an animal can chew or smash are better hidden. Highlight one room for activity and stay close by. And in order to return the degu to the cage, open its door a little and put inside a treat.
- Protect your pet from loud and harsh sounds, unpleasant odors.
- Remember that such a pet does not tolerate high humidity, so do not bathe it in water! Enough sand baths.
- Changing the litter cell, you should not completely throw away all the sawdust. Leave a small part of them so that the animal can smell it. Otherwise, he may not recognize his home and feel uncomfortable.
- For prophylactic purposes, once every three months, conduct anthelmintic therapy.
What to feed degu? They are herbivores, so food of plant origin should be included in the diet. The menu may contain vegetables (preferably solid, which provide additional grinding of teeth), unsweetened fruits, various grains, seeds, nuts. You can also offer grass or petals of non-poisonous flowers. But all products must be of high quality.
For example, only ripe fruit is allowed, not green or overripe. Sweet is completely excluded, as degus have a tendency to diabetes. Dairy and dairy products should not be given either. It is important to change the water in the drinker every day, it should always be fresh. And replace the remnants of food with a new portion, as they may deteriorate.
Tip: if you doubt the quality of the food, then feed the pet food for rodents (for example, for chinchillas).
Sexual maturity occurs at about the age of a year, but fertilization can occur much earlier. In one offspring can be from one to six to eight cubs. And for the year living in favorable conditions, the female can bring two or three offspring.
Some tips on care and degu maintenance:
- Do not grab the degu by the tail. The fact is that in case of danger a pet can throw off the skin covering it, and then bite off the rest.
- If you are not ready to devote a lot of time to degus, then get him a friend. Such animals live in flocks, so they are in good contact with companions. If, however, to deprive the animal communication, it can become wild and become fearful and aggressive. Tame him from an early age: communicate, iron, take your hands.
- If you have just purchased a degu, then let the animal get used to the new environment. You should not immediately relocate it to the cage, leave it in the carrier for a while, then release it, and only then offer to go to a permanent dwelling.
Take care of the degu correctly, and your pet will be happy and sociable!
Native territories and origins of degu
The fact that such a broad and immense concept as “the world of animals” includes just a huge amount of the most diverse, living beings is not a big secret for anyone. Each individual genus, class or family is an individual, it is a special and inimitable creations of nature. If we consider, for example, such a large and, it seems, just an amazing detachment of rodents, then involuntarily it comes to mind that the majority of all members of this squad are no more than pure fiction. Since on our large planet Earth, it is probably impossible to find such a person who would know them all "by face and by name".
Living on our globe is such a peculiar, pretty creature, which is known to the world under the wonderful name - degu. This miracle of nature with an interesting name was presented to the world in 1782, at the same time the animal was classified into a class of mammals, a group of rodents, a family of eight teeth and a genus of eight teeth.
If we talk about the natural habitat of this mammal, then as his permanent place of residence he prefers stony locations, near which or directly in the same area there are dense shrubs, some individuals can occasionally settle on the outskirts of forests surrounded by shrubs and low trees .
Such delightful haunts are honored by their homeland by such countries of South America as Bolivia, Peru, and Chile; they are also found in some regions of Argentina and Uruguay.
Features of degu behavior in open nature
These very amazing representatives of the world fauna, without remorse and even some doubts, can be called one of the most social, friendly and sociable animals. The fact of the matter is that they not only cannot tolerate loneliness, they even have difficult working days together with their relatives. Eight teeth are predominantly occupied by relatively small social colonies, they rest in such groups, and produce food, and even engage in construction. As for the construction, then this necessary craft can be learned from the degu. The fact of the matter is that, like most rodents, they are inclined towards the construction of complex holes, in which there are many otnorki, nesting chambers and other "outbuildings". But due to the fact that these pretty animals are used to doing everything together, even digging holes, the result of such works more resembles a complex unexplored labyrinth than an animal's house - simply, one can say, a palace in the life of all rodents.
Relations in such a friendly company are formed with the establishment of clear boundaries and rules, so each such family has its own territory, which is conventionally divided into two sections - the breeding zone and the area for food. Each such group is very active and avidly protecting their possessions from strangers and simply unwanted guests. According to some sources, the area of one such location, on which one group of degu lives, averages about 180–220 square meters.
The period of activity of these peculiar mammals falls mainly on the daytime, but since these friendly creatures do not like the hot scorching sun much, the main peak of their effectiveness falls on either early morning or closer to dusk. The relationship of these animals with sunshine is a separate story altogether, the whole secret is that they are very vulnerable to them and being even for a short time under the scorching sun, they can easily get heat or sunstroke.
The diet of the original degu is very diverse, although it consists mainly of products of plant origin. They most often eat green grass, leaves of trees and shrubs, seeds of plants and their roots, and in no case will they give up fresh juicy fruits. If it happened that in their territories there was very little food, then these modest animals can be content with the waste products of livestock. The ceremony of eating these rodents directly takes place at the height of small trees or shrubs, but sometimes they can dine on the surface of the soil.
As for how small degu defend themselves from their enemies, they have their own well-formed and reliable concept, in their opinion, the best defense is not an attack, but a quick and agile escape. At the same time, if such a nuisance happened and the little animal was caught by the caudal process, it does not despair at all and does not begin to say goodbye to life, it simply sheds the skin from it and continues its running marathon, they soon chew off the tail section .
Proceeding kind of degu at home
The mating season for small rodents usually begins in the last days of February and lasts until November, although in some territories it is less long. In the open nature, degu produce offspring only once a year, sometimes it happens that a degu female becomes pregnant twice in one year, but in conditions of bondage, breeding matters are slightly different, according to many observations, the female can become pregnant in a few days after delivery.
The period of gestation of babies in these mammals lasts approximately from 85 to 95 days, at the end of this period from 1 to 7 calves are born, with a body weight of not more than 15 grams. Newborn degu feed on mother's milk for about 14–35 days, after which the responsible mothers begin to “introduce lactation” to their children, dragging young grass and leaves into the nest.
Characteristic appearance degu
If we talk about the appearance of these amazing rodents, then we can say that they are relatively small animals, their body length averages from 10 to 23 cm, the tail process grows no more than 10 cm. The weight of their miniature body varies from 200 to 350 grams.
The head of these animals is small, with a slightly pointed face, the eyes are clearly visible, bulging with vertically arranged pupils, which periodically narrow, then expand, depending on the mood of the animal, time of day and weather conditions of the external environment. The ears are relatively long, slightly rounded.
The entire surface of their Taurus is covered with short, but very soft and delicate in texture fur. In nature, there are two varieties of Degu stains - brown-gray and brown-yellow, but these are by no means different subspecies of the eight-teeth. The dorsal side of the body is usually presented in a brownish-gray color, it is often possible to notice that the back of the rodent shimmers with a slight orange tint. The abdomen is yellowish-cream, the limbs are painted in a light gray color scheme. The caudal process is usually lighter, often ending in a small white tassel.
Maintenance and care of degu at home
The first thing you should think about before starting such a kind of pet or any other is about his personal roof over your head, because the animal will not be able to feel comfortable in its personal space. As a personal dwelling for your dear degu, a rather spacious and tall cage is perfect, only it should be a bit specially furnished. It is good to divide the housing of your edental tooth into several tiers using branches, shelves and snags. It is good to construct a labyrinth in a rodent cage that will look like its home in its natural habitat. Such a maze can easily be done with pipes, running through such tunnels and passages, your friend from the wild nature will keep his physical condition every day, and just have fun.
The main guarantee of a long and happy life of your exotic is the right conditions in which he will live. In no case should not be allowed in the cage with degus was dusty, you can not use hay or straw as a floor covering, as it is a large source of dust. It's not that these eight-pinch rodents are very clean, they just have a very peculiar structure of the nasal cavity and in dusty conditions they often have pneumonia, bronchitis, rhinitis and even nasal neoplasms, all these troubles can lead to unpleasant, and most importantly irreparable consequences.
Of course, some kind of soft and warm substrate in the cage of the South American rodent is indispensable, as the latter it is good to use pressed corn, wood or cellulose filler. Particularly attentive should be with wood, if you prefer this filler, then be prepared for the fact that it will have to change more often than others, as it gets wet and rotten faster, and in such an environment uninvited guests may very soon begin to settle down. Also, your original pupil may eat such a filler, moreover, if there are wooden elements in the house of this domesticated comely mammal, such as houses, drinkers or feeders, your wild friend will also try to eat them. But, if you notice it, you should not panic, your friend needs to undermine his teeth, and the wood is completely fully etched in its gastrointestinal tract.
Do not forget that any pet should have its own dishes, and amazing degus are no exception. In the cage in which the little animal lives, it is necessary to install a feed tank, it is desirable to choose more or less heavy dishes for this, it can be made of ceramics and will be well attached to the walls. And all so that this fluffy craftsman does not overturn his feeder and does not mix delicacies with filler. It will be more problematic with a container for drinking water, for this purpose you can’t put a plate and other containers at all, it will be best to install a special drinking dispenser, otherwise you will have to clean your friend’s cage several times a day, but the biggest problem is not that.
The thing is that these fragile predators are very vulnerable to a variety of diseases, especially those that are tied to hypothermia, so you should not allow the soft hair of the animal to be wetted. Initially, the animal may be a little difficult to understand the essence of this complex mechanism, but the degu are inherently intelligent and intelligent animals, therefore they learn very soon. You should not pour too much water into such a drinker, as these miniature animals consume quite a bit of liquid, and it is characteristic of water to stagnate very quickly.
Bringing these pretty rodents into the house, you should not worry about any foreign smells in your home, degu products do not emit any sharp or specific “bouquet”, therefore this animal will not bring any discomfort. Usually, in the first days of their living in a cage, the little animals will determine the place in which his lavatory will be located, and there he will relieve himself constantly. In this corner of the home must be cleaned regularly, at least once every two or three days. But the general cleaning of the house degu can be carried out approximately twice a month, it all depends on how many animals live there.
It is also necessary to install a container with a special sand in a degus cage, which can be purchased at any pet store, and chinchilla sand will also work. In such baths the animal will clean its fur, but in this it will need your help. Such swimming should be carried out about 2-3 times a week.
Нельзя забывать и о развлечениях, такие зверушки, как дегу от природы являются очень активными и подвижными, и эти их качества не стоит ограничивать. Хорошо установить в клетке беговое колесо, с небольшими размерами ячеек, чтобы зверек не мог получить травмы.
The presence of a personal home of your pupil does not imply the fact that the animal should be there permanently. It is advisable to let your pet go for a walk around the apartment, but it should be done very carefully, as this little sly sly fellow can easily run to the most secluded corner of your house, from which it will be very difficult to get it. If you do not have time to keep an eye on him, then it will be good to buy special walking balls, a pet will be able to walk where they want, and you will not worry that he will be lost or some kind of trouble will happen to him.
The diet of these eight-toothed animals at home should be one hundred percent of dry food. Food for the daily menu of your friend can be bought at the market or at any pet store, usually such food contains a large number of different cereals, such as millet, oats, wheat, rye, corn, flax seed, hemp seed and many others. It is also good to include in the menu degus legumes, such as peas, lentils, lupine or beans. He will not refuse from dried fruits - cherries, wild rose, pears, bananas, apples and even pineapples and mangoes. We must not forget about herbs, this gnaw nettle, dandelions and plantain are very fond of. Be sure to install in the cage of this tenant senator, from which he will feast on hay. From time to time you can treat your friend and young shoots of plants, bark, sunflower seeds and nuts. But with seeds and nuts, you should be careful, because they contain a large amount of fat, and this can very negatively affect the condition of the liver and gastrointestinal tract of your pet.
Carefully monitor the health of your friend, degu very often suffer from trichophytosis, microsporia and many types of helminths that are dangerous for humans, so as soon as you notice that something is wrong with him, hair falls out or just on the body of the animal there were areas of baldness - hurry to the doctor.
Antihelminthic therapy to these amazing pets should be carried out at least once every three months, for this special medication is used for rodents.
The average cost of an individual degu ranges from 1,500 to 3,500 rubles.
For more about the content and care of the degu, see here:
When purchasing a degu, it is worth remembering that first of all these are rodents. Therefore, it is necessary to contain them accordingly. No wooden cages are out of the question. The bars will fall under the onslaught of the teeth almost immediately.
The metal cage should be large. The most convenient square, with sides of 70 cm and more. It would be nice to arrange for the little animals a few floors. They are very mobile, jumping. The system of ladders, tunnels, all sorts of moves will add excitement to the bush rat. It is possible to hang ropes, crossbeams for the upper lattice. The running wheel will allow the animal to warm up and maintain mobility if it is impossible to walk around the apartment.
A ceramic pot without a glaze with a chipped edge will fit perfectly. The wooden dwelling "Chilean squirrel" quickly turn into chips. If, however, a tree house was chosen, then it will just be necessary to change it more often to a new one.
Straw is not suitable. None Degus are herbivores, so they will try to taste it. Hay is also an unfortunate version of the litter. It is dusty and can cause diseases of the respiratory system.
Purchased pellets or mineral cat litter can damage the delicate skin on the pads. There will be painful corns, natoptysh. The best option is extruded sawdust, or wood chip filler fines.
Do not be afraid of specific rodent amber. In captivity, the degu practically do not smell. If you clean up wet spots in time, you can completely change the litter only once in 3 weeks.
A good alternative to a metal cage would be a large terrarium or aquarium. The only inconvenience will be a puzzle, as on the glass walls to fix devices for sports. But there will be much less dust flying around. But if instead of a glass cover to use a grid or grating, then it is quite possible to hang everything you need.
Accordingly, do not forget about ventilation. Glass walls do not pass air. And forced airing is already a draft. The most convenient is to replace the cover or one of the walls with a fine-meshed mesh.
The simplest nipple. Water is changed daily, although shrub rats drink little. But they are very smart, they will quickly understand how to use this device.
Still need a feeder. It is better stable, so that the pet does not overturn it. A nursery for hay and grass should be the same. Naturally, only from metal or ceramics.
Placed in a cage for 1 hour per day. Degu do not bathe, do not wash. They are very clean animals and clean themselves with sand. For hygiene this is more than enough. If the sand will stand with the pet all the time, it will be used as a place for the toilet. For filling use purchased sand from a pet store. It is easier than cooking yourself.
Various pebbles, branches, snags, roots will create conditions for pets, close to natural. It will be a kind of playground for them. It would be nice to add to the interior of the content of special stones. Animals with pleasure gnaw at them, at the same time replenish their mineral balance.
Council To degu less gnawed wooden fixtures, you must choose them from conifers. For teeth grinding it is better to put separate branches.
Where to put the cell
Degus are very demanding on temperature. Ideally - from 23 to 25 ° C. High humidity is also destructive. In the kitchen, windowsill, under the window pane is not the cage. Shrub rat contraindicated:
- cigarette smoke
- direct sunlight
- sharp odors
- loud sounds
- low place
The last item on the list looks strange if you don’t know the peculiarities of the genetic psychology of the “Chilean squirrels”. In nature, their main enemies are birds of prey. Therefore, putting the house too low, instead of a cheerful degu, you can get intimidated animals.
At least 1.5 m from the floor and now the animal stops hiding when the owner approaches.
Council When guests come, you need to remove the cage away. Animals very nervously react to noise and smells.
What to feed
Herbivorous rodents. This is the main thing. The main component of the degu menu all year round is good grass hay. For a variety of diet, you can include in the pet menu in small quantities:
- Cereals. Grains of corn, wheat, barley, rye, oats, flax, hemp.
- Fresh green nettle, plantain, dandelion.
- Bean dry grains. Beans, lentils, peas, lupins.
- The bark of pear, lime, apple, willow.
- Dried rose hips, hawthorn, carrots, apples, cherries.
- Fresh pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, chokeberry fruits.
Of course, I want to pamper the pet with treats. So hilariously watch them. But do not forget, they are strictly forbidden to give food from the table. For an ordinary rat, a piece of cheese is a treat, for a shrub one is a harm.
You can purchase in the pet store special food for guinea pigs or chinchillas. Just be sure to read the composition! There should be no sugar. In the degu body, it does not break down. Totally. A pet can get diabetes mellitus, even just sometimes getting raisins, nuts, dried apricots or sweet fruits in the diet.
Hay. It should be dust free. Carefully ensure that the grass was without poisonous plants. Speaking of poisons. Most homemade flowers are deadly for degu. Therefore, letting them go for a walk, carefully watch that the animal is not nibbling greens.
Should ask the seller what the animal was fed. A sudden transition to a different type of food can cause indigestion and even death. It is necessary to transfer the animal to the new food gradually, gradually adding a new feed every day and reducing the dose of the usual.
Council Once a day, inspect the cell. The bush rat loves to keep stocks for later and forget about them. It is necessary to remove all uneaten remains daily, except for hay.
- It is not recommended to keep degus where there are already other pets.
- In the wild, Chilean squirrels live in large families. One little animal will be bored, even with a large game park. If breeding of animals is not planned, then two gay rodents are often acquired. So they will have something to do.
- To one animal was not boring, you need to communicate with him more often. Pick up, talk in a low quiet voice, feed from the palm of your hand. By the way, boys are tamed much faster and more willingly than girls.
- Degues are non-aggressive to each other, they get along perfectly well in one cell. They are seated just before delivery, because the female can become pregnant immediately. After 10 days, the male is returned back.
- After getting used to the host, the bush rats remember their name very well, they begin to recognize the owner by smell. Sometimes they communicate with him. Their conversation is very similar to the chirp.
Council If an adult degu is bought, do not immediately grab it with your hands. Let the animal get used to the situation. And then you can accustom to the master's caresses.
Bush rats bring offspring once every 6 months. If you do not control the process, then more often. Pregnancy lasts from 85 to 92 days. Most often from 3 to 11 cubs are born. Males very gently protect offspring, warm them. But for some time they are removed from the female to prevent re-fertilization.
Babies eat milk for about 4 weeks. By this time, they are independent jumpers. It is possible to begin excommunication from parents from 2 months.
If you leave everyone in the same cell, then the family over time will just be closely. By 6-7 weeks, rodents may begin to mate. Therefore, they still have to be set aside in order to prevent incest.
Council During pregnancy, it is recommended to remove the wheel and other sports equipment from the cage. Once the kids reach the age of 1 month, you can safely return everything to the place.
Special attention tail
Chilean squirrels have a very interesting feature. This is a very delicate skin on the tail. Under no circumstances should you touch it. Even a simple stroking can commit irreparable. Rodents take off their skin and run away. After a bare tail dies. Or the animal bites it off itself. Unlike lizards, their new tail does not grow, so the piece remains. It does not affect the health of the little animals, but the appearance is not the same.
Council Do not grab the degu from above, it can get scared and bite. You can put a few seeds on your palm and show your pet. He will climb on his hand.
Breeders claim that grooming is easy. Every evening in the evening, they remove the remnants of juicy food and other food, wash the feeder and the drinker. It is desirable to clean water, without the addition of strong smelling detergents.
Periodically inspect the house for the presence of feces. Clean them with a spatula or simply wash them with a napkin. Regularly remove wet spots on the litter.
Once a month the litter is completely changed. At the same time, the cell is disinfected.
It is recommended to use a metal pallet for bedding. Wooden or plastic will certainly be tested on the tooth, and, if possible, and thoroughly spoiled.
Often check the reliability of the mount swings, ladders, ropes. Animals love to run, jump. Therefore, poorly fixed things can injure the legs or other parts of the body.
Council We must carefully choose the wheel for running. The smaller the distance between the crossbars, the less likely the pet will damage the tail.
- During a walk around the room closely watching the animals. Gnawing the wire or something else harmful for them - the most lovely thing. Current manufacturers offer a variety of walking balls for rodents. A wonderful invention allows you not to run after your pet around the house.
- If you notice the lightening of the eyes of the animal, then immediately go to the vet. White eyes - the first sign of diabetes.
- Another sign of any disease is sharp baldness. And the wool does not necessarily fall out completely. The appearance of even the slightest round spots is already a reason to turn to veterinarians.
- Decided to have degus? Call the clinics in advance to find out where they are being treated. It would not have protected the pet, anything can happen. And so with their mobility and speed ...
- Shrub rats can not be wetted. From the word at all. When for some reason the rodent has gotten hairy, it can be wiped with a slightly damp cloth. Better dry at all. The rest of the pet will be cleaned on its own using sand.
- If you do not give degu hard twigs, then their teeth grow strongly. In the future, this makes it difficult to eat. It just hurts them to eat a deformed jaw.
How to care for degu at home? Follow the recommendations, pamper, groom. And then the animal will be only in joy.
All the advantages of keeping animals at home
For those who wish to have degu protein, it is first necessary to know the pros and cons of caring for them. The advantages of such pets are the following factors:
- Because of their small feed size, they eat much less than the same guinea pigs or other larger rodents. In addition, for the same reason, they do not have to allocate a lot of space in the house.
- These animals are very clean, so they do not have a specific smell and do not require special hygienic care.
- Chilean degu squirrels are very active, curious and friendly. Quickly attached to the owner and easy to train.
- Daegu drink a little water, so they defecate very little. For this reason, cleaning the cell does not take much time.
- Unlike other nocturnal rodents, these pets are awake during the day along with the owner.
- Compared to rats, hamsters and chinchillas, degus have a longer life span - at least 8-12 years.
- Care for posterity is easy. This process will not require any additional equipment or extra work.
Lack of content
- You can not let the animals walk around the house on their own, as they love to gnaw literally everything - be it shoes, cables or furniture.
- Chilean squirrels degu do not like loneliness, because of this, a prerequisite for their content is breeding.
- Tendency to various diseases, such as the common cold, indigestion and even diabetes. Based on this, if you care for a sick pet there is neither time nor desire, it is better not to start it at all.
- Little squirrels are big fans of sand baths. In this regard, it is necessary to accept the constant cleaning around the cage.
How to equip a home for the animal
The content of the Chilean degu squirrel, although it does not require any unusual conditions, however, there are a number of features that must be observed for the happy life of a pet in your home. Since the forest and steppe lanes are considered the birthplace of animals, they are accustomed to space. Therefore, they need not a regular cage, but a spacious aviary. Its optimum size is 1 m wide and 1.2 m long.
The cell of the Chilean squirrel degu does not fit also because it cannot live alone for long. She needs a couple, as well as a spacious house. In addition, protein may soon have offspring. The aviary itself must be equipped with such devices as a drinking bowl, a feeding trough, a house in the form of a mink, a running wheel, several shelves located at different levels, a stone for grinding teeth and claws. In addition, you will need a container with sand, in which the degus like to dig, as well as paper litter with sawdust.
Where to place the aviary
A bright and warm place is suitable for this purpose, but it must be remembered that direct sunlight can only harm the Chilean degu squirrel. At home, this crumbs need to be protected from drafts, because caring for a sick animal is not such a joy. The optimum temperature for its content is from +24 to +28 ⁰C. Aviary with animals should be located at the level of human eyes. This is due to the fact that birds of prey in nature are hunted by birds of prey, so they instinctively dread the likely danger from above.
Chilean degu squirrels are very sensitive to both tobacco smoke and other strong odors. They will not be particularly pleasant loud music. As for finding other predatory animals in the house, in particular a cat or a dog, this is completely unacceptable. After the acquired squirrel is in the house, you should not immediately transplant it into a spacious aviary. She needs time to adapt a bit to the situation and get used to the new smells. To do this, it is recommended for some time to leave the carrier next to the aviary, and after the transplant, put the litter there from the former dwelling.
Since urine and feces do not have an unpleasant pungent odor, no measures should be taken regarding the hygiene of your pet. In order for the squirrel to live for at least 10 years, it is enough to fulfill only two conditions. Первое из них – правильное питание, и второе – минимальная гигиена, так как ее зверек может обеспечить себе самостоятельно.
Теперь выясним, что едят чилийские белки дегу. Надо сказать, что эти грызуны обладают отменным аппетитом, поэтому лучше всего для них подойдет дробное питание. For this, the daily rate of food is divided into 4-5 parts. A similar approach to feeding them will provide the animals with good digestion. Then the food will be quickly assimilated, and the animal will remain full and will not gain excess weight.
Consider what you can feed the Chilean squirrel degu. Care, of course, plays a very important role in ensuring that pets feel comfortable, but do not forget about the quality nutrition of animals. The basis of their diet is zernosmes. Additionally, it is necessary to feed also with hay, fresh flowers and leaves of dandelions, alfalfa, branches and foliage of willow, apple and linden. In addition, they need to give fruits, vegetables and herbs. For them, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chamomile flowers and leaves, rowan and wild rose berries, nuts will be useful in small quantities.
As you know, diabetes may occur in degu. To prevent this disease, you should not give them green or over-ripe fruits, dairy products and any human food. Do not forget that the longevity of a pet directly depends on its proper feeding.
Influence of indoor plants
The squirrel degu is extremely curious. She constantly explores the objects and plants around her, so she can taste the home greenery. If there are poisonous specimens in the room, they must be moved to another location. The most dangerous plants for degu are the needle dish, dieffenbachia, aralia, palm lily, indoor calla, monstera, sensiveia and spicy root. If it became known that the pet still tried poisonous greens, you should immediately contact your veterinarian for help. The fact is that in case of poisoning Chilean squirrels do not last long, so the bill can go on for minutes.
What to look for when choosing a animal
It is best to buy degu from breeders, as they can show the real conditions where the squirrel parents are kept. Another place where you can buy an exotic pet is a pet shop. Experts do not advise taking the animal in the bird market or on an ad in the newspaper, because such a purchase may be "a cat in a bag" - taking a weak or sick Chilean squirrel, you have to spend a lot of time, effort and money on its treatment.
It is believed that buying degus is best at the age of two months. At this time, squirrels stop using their mother's milk, and their immune system is already formed. It is necessary to learn from the breeders what feed the animal does to the parents, because they can develop diabetes from malnutrition. It is worth paying special attention to the grooming and behavior of both adults and their children. If good conditions are created for them, they will be inquisitive and will easily make contact, studying with interest a stranger.
Healthy individuals should have a smooth and smooth coat, a tassel at the tip of the tail and shiny eyes, as in the photo of the Chilean squirrel degu presented in this article. It is known that puberty in females begins at the age of one and a half months. From this time on, it is possible to contain protein only with same-sex individuals, since inbreeding and pregnancy should not be allowed to be, in fact, a small animal.
The Chilean squirrel degu evokes mixed emotions with its owners, from complete adoration to irritation. However, the majority still note that this is a very cute, lively and sociable animal that brings a lot of positive emotions. It is quite easy to tame if you talk to him and spend some time nearby.
The disadvantages include the fact that there are no qualified veterinarians who could get practical advice in a given situation. Also, many owners point out that they should not let animals out of an open-air cage, as they can chew on anything, including furniture. These animals make loud noises - they are beeping, chirping, chattering, or gnawing cages. Mostly this happens during the day, but sometimes they can make such noise at night.
The article gave the main recommendations for the care, maintenance and nutrition of Chilean squirrels at home. However, there are various unforeseen situations, so it is better to know in advance whether there is a veterinary clinic nearby where a specialist is in charge of treating these animals. In order for a smart and inquisitive pet to please you with its presence for many years, you need to treat the animal well, feed it properly, and take care of its health, completely eliminating drafts and removing poisonous plants for it.
Degu biorhythms and human biorhythms coincide.
Most rodents are nocturnal animals: they sleep during the day and stay awake at night. Such a daily routine often annoys the owners, because the noise coming from the cells will hardly allow you to fall asleep.
Unlike their fellow degu, they prefer to do their work during the day, and at night - doze sweetly, leaning against each other. Even if you have a small apartment and the cell is in the bedroom, polite degu will not cause any trouble.
Daegu are very sociable
Chilean squirrels not only get along well with their relatives, but also gladly go to contact with people - especially if they are accustomed to this from childhood. Do not forget to take a pet in your arms - it will help to easily catch the animal while cleaning the cage.
In the wild, degu live in large groups - they hardly endure loneliness. And if you can not give your pet enough time, get a few rodents at once.
Choosing a cell
If you decide to shelter the clever degu, provide him with decent living conditions. In advance podyschuyte spacious cage with metal rods. Why metal? Because fluffy clowns constantly strive to sneak out of the house, and plastic and wood cannot resist their sharp teeth.
The bars of the cage must be thick: they love to climb walls, and thin metal will easily damage their delicate legs. The minimum cage size for two adult animals is 72 x 60 x 45 cm, and the dwelling should consist of several tiers connected by ladders.
The hammock will become an ideal bed for Chilean squirrels - you can buy it at the pet store or make it yourself from thick material or old fur.
We are bathing degu
Degu love bathing procedures, only they bathe not in a foam bath, but in the sand. Contact with water is contraindicated for Chilean squirrels - firstly, it will cause severe stress in the animal, secondly, it will provoke a cold or pneumonia.
For bathing rodents special sand is needed - it can be found in pet stores. A large glass jar with a wide neck can be used as an improvised bath. It is important that the tank was deep enough and the animal fully fit in it. Do not forget to put a container with sand in a cage every day so that the rodent can clean its skin from the accumulated dirt during the day.
The main signs of healthy degu
All degu owners need to pay attention to the following factors:
- degus should be alert and easy to move around the cage,
- Degu's teeth should be smooth and bright orange,
- the nose of the animal should be clean, without traces of discharge,
- rodent eyes must be clean and clear
- animal skin should be shiny and smooth, without bald spots and bald patches,
- Degu skin should not peel off,
- Pet's breath should be even, without whistles and wheezes.
If you notice the first signs of illness, contact your veterinarian. Try to find out in advance in which clinics the ratologists accept, if necessary, to quickly show your pet to a specialist.
Degu Nutrition Features
Degu - incorrigible beggars: they are ready to stand on their hind legs for a long time, getting the cherished goodies from the owners. It is important not to give in to provocations and not to overfeed the animals.
Since Chilean squirrels are prone to diabetes, their diet should consist of hay, grass food (packaged guinea pig feed will be suitable) and vegetables - cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, bell pepper.
Carrots, seeds and walnuts will help to diversify the food - however, they should not be given more than once a week. Degu will not refuse from fresh lettuce, buckwheat, rolled oats and green lentils. But breakfast cereals, treats and food with the addition of fruit and honey are contraindicated for these rodents.
Training and Exercise
Chilean squirrels are not indifferent to toys - logs, baskets of compressed grass, various wooden trinkets. In the natural environment, they have to travel considerable distances to find their food. Homemade degu also need daily physical exertion. Place a large metal wheel in the cage, which your pet will turn during the day, and hang up the tunnels so that your rodents will not be bored.
Characteristic degu proteins
As a domestic animal, the Chilean squirrel is used for a relatively short time, although it was discovered back in the 18th century.. This rodent has a thick, short neck, a rounded head, small. A characteristic feature of the degu is a flat nose and a stooped back. Its front paws are shorter than its hind legs, elongated, rough to the touch fur at the tip of the tail. On the other parts of the body, the coat is also coarse, has a gray-brown color with an orange or creamy yellow shade.
It is interesting! The total length of degu squirrels does not exceed 40 centimeters with the tail, and the weight is no more than 300 grams. With domestic captive breeding, these parameters are even lower.
The age of life of the Chilean squirrel is not long. Most often, the deadline for a degu does not exceed 4 years. Careful maintenance can slightly prolong this figure. “Under the wing” of an experienced and caring host of protein can live up to 8 years.
It has a wonderful sense of smell, is able to distinguish low-frequency sounds, see well at close range and completely do not distinguish distant objects. Vibrissi is another sensory organ of a Chilean squirrel that can alert it to the location of objects located at a distance. These are special organs of touch, presented in the form of fine hairs, transmitting signals to the brain about the smallest air vibrations emanating from foreign objects.
Buying Degu - Tips
Selling Chilean squirrels abound. You can buy it at the pet store, from the breeder, or take it cheaply at the animal rescue center. By the basic cost of the animal, it is important to take into account the costs of acquiring related products. This may be food, housing accessories, care products. If you have read the list of expected difficulties and joys, we will decide on several important questions.
Before buying it is better to know:
- Which floor do you prefer? Who needs a boy or girl degu?
- Does the budget allow you to purchase a “partner”, a pair for degu?
- Is it possible to stay in your family?
- Can you take the responsibility to take care of him for 7-8 years? Is it a lifting burden for your mode and load?
- Will other pets be able to get on with the degu? Or squirrel degu with them?
- Do you have enough funds to maintain it?
Before purchasing, familiarize yourself with all possible difficulties that may occur on the way. This may be characteristic of the type of disease, the characteristics of care, the interaction of the animal with other pets and households (the level of socialization of degu). All this is important when choosing any pet. Having set a goal to purchase a degu squirrel as a pet, think carefully, weighing all the pros and cons. This can help characteristics of the animal's temperament and especially its care:
- Daegu, unlike other rodents, are day-living, this is a significant advantage, allowing minutes of night-time hype.
- They are very sociable. Mostly Deguu contact with other cage brothers, but with a caring attitude people can “make friends” with them.
- These animals are extremely clean. They may not clean the cage themselves, but it is enough for the owner to flush it out, with all contained objects inside, once a week. The cage can be kept in the nursery or living room, as well-groomed degu does not smell.
- Chilean protein produces offspring easily and quickly. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that individuals of different sexes are not in the same cage.
- Degou needs activity. This is due to their purpose in the wild.
- A Chilean squirrel would have to travel impressive distances every day in search of food. For the animal to feel well, it is important to satisfy this need and natural curiosity. Suspended platforms, ledges and other obstacles in the cage will help to cope with the task.
- In no case can not grab the degu squirrel by the tail. If you feel such a danger, it can, like a lizard, “jerk” out of your hands, leaving a piece of tail skin in your hand.
Before buying, find out where you can consult in case of problems, choose a veterinarian familiar with the health features of this type.
Important! Know that degu are tiny, cute, neat, sociable and affectionate pets, which are interesting to watch.
Try to plan the first couple of days after taking the “baby” to the family so as to create the most comfortable living conditions for it. Immediately buy a cage. It should have a bowl for food, a water bowl and a wheel for running. Buy enough degu feed for the first time. Good nutrition provides the animal with all the nutrients in the right quantities and proportions.
Cell selection, filling
The cage should be at least 60 centimeters in length, width and height. As the material is suitable only stainless steel, the plastic walls will be instantly gnawed. Chilean squirrels - rodents. Equip their dwelling with enough tree branches as well as roots. Degu like to overcome obstacles, to hide in various shelters. To meet the need for frequent movements, it is recommended that a Chilean squirrel be installed in a wheel cage. It is better to fix the drinking bowl on the wall, and to put the bowls separate for each type of food.
Put the cage away from direct sunlight, radiators and sources of loud noise. As a litter most often used a mixture of pressed corn cobs, rags and white paper. Sawdust in this type of animal often develops an allergic reaction, their use is unacceptable. The extreme regularity of cell cleaning is monthly; it is better to do this once a week.
Chilean squirrel eating
Degu squirrels need a special diet. This is due to their inability to self-regulate blood sugar. Feeding low-quality food or regular overfeeding significantly harm the pet's health. So, as a responsible and caring owner, make sure you provide your diet with a balanced diet that meets all its needs.
It is interesting! In the wild, their diet is dried grass, tree bark, roots, stems and seeds of plants. For home content, it is better to purchase a special feed for Chilean squirrels.
If you can not buy food, you can make homemade mix - mix different cereals, oatmeal and pea flakes. Also in the trough constantly must be present hay. In the daily diet of degu should be no less than half a gram of freshly picked grass. The degu squirrel chews fruit and vegetables, such as apples and pears, with joy. Also loves carrots, radishes and cauliflower. However, before giving such products, they must be thoroughly washed in running water and wiped dry. Nuts and seeds are considered a special, but high-calorie delicacy. They should not be abused because the pet may have health problems due to obesity.
Degu care, hygiene
Like chinchillas, degu need regular bathing. This is necessary not only for the fragrance of the pet, but also to preserve the health of the skin and the beauty of the coat. But the bath should not be with water, but with myelinated sand. Squirrels love to indulge and “swim” in small sand baths, do not deny them the pleasure. The bath is placed once a day, after which the sand is carefully subcultured and cleaned. If you leave the sand in a cage for a long time, it will be used as a toilet.
Health, Disease and Prevention
A healthy degu pet is sociable and active. An important indicator of health - clean, no visible foreign spots, eyes. Also - orange teeth, if they began to lighten - this is a reason for adjusting the nutrition of the Chilean squirrel. Even with improper diet (the abundance of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in the menu), an animal can begin diarrhea.
The most common degus ailments are:
- Conjunctivitis. It is characterized by the presence of purulent discharge from the eye area. For treatment, drops are applied with an antibiotic prescribed by a veterinarian.
- Elderly squirrels can suffer from cataract. The appearance of white spots on the brown background of a healthy eye is the first sign of the disease.
- Diabetes. Common disease of improper feeding. Manifested in weight gain, lethargy behavior, increased water consumption. Диабет не лечится, но существуют меры профилактики во избежание его развития. Конфеты, халва и прочие сладости – недопустимые продукты для дегу ни при каких условиях. Если замечены первые симптомы – ограничьте употребление зверьком орехов, калорийных круп и переспелых фруктов.
- A cold can also disturb a heat-loving nature degu.. The special "enemies" of the health of this fluffy animal are considered to be a sharp temperature drop and draft. If the animal has watery eyes, mucus appears in the nose, apathy is a sure sign that the protein is sick. At an early stage, it is treated by folk methods - broth hips, calendula. If it does not help, you need to contact a veterinary clinic.
- Also contact with sick animals and insufficient level of purity in the cage may cause skin fungus or parasites.
The main preventive measures are regular cell hygiene and balanced feeding. These are the two "whales" that will help to avoid all the ailments of homemade degu.
Games, Taming Degu
Degu have a great memory, so constant contact is the best investment in the process of successful learning of the animal. And the greatest caution from start to finish is the driving lever. It is best to train young immature individuals. No, their mental abilities or the degree of receptivity of the teams do not depend on age. Simply with age, degus has less confidence in a person. Before starting the training, it is important to provide suitable terrain. This may be a room without hidden corners and crevices where the animal could hide or escape.
Also avoid open electrical wires, which it can bite, harm yourself and the room. The first step is to start talking to him. The quiet, gentle voice of the host will soon become recognizable for the degu. Hand feeding is also important for cohesion. Before starting it is important to wash your hands so that they do not smell of food, so that the animal does not confuse a finger with an appetizing pear. Food can also be a motivation for doing tricks. For example, you can lure a degu with a piece of treat to your shoulder, repeating the trick every day.
Important! Degu has a very good memory, as we said earlier, so behave very carefully and delicately, trying not to offend or hurt him. This can put an end to any communication and trust.
Never take it from above.. In the wild, these animals are attacked by birds of prey and animals from above; in such a situation, a frightened degu can use self-defense and start biting.
Chilean squirrel degu should walk freely around you, do not take it with your hands, squeeze or drag it somewhere. Freedom is an important aspect of trust. Daegu loves to be tickled by the back of his head, but annoying and long tickling can make him run away or even bite you. For more productive communication, it is important to understand the "language of degu." For example, if his wool stood on end - he is alarmed and feels threatened.
During reproduction or when the animal is in an excited mood - it wags its tail. Jumping, running, jumping and twisting the body are characteristic of healthy, active, happy degu. This behavior is often observed in young animals. Crowded together degu crave feelings of security. They can often sleep in one big, hairy pile. Food is peculiar to nervous, irritated behavior, growling - for aggression during the approaching threat. If the squeak is more like heather - this is a simple conversation or shrieks of courtship lovers.
Despite the overwhelming desire to devote all the time to the animal, it is unlikely that anyone will succeed. Degu social animals, living alone without company and attention, they can become apathetic, withdrawn, aggressive and even lose their health. Get your pet a pair, and even better, put them in a cage in the amount of 4-5 individuals.
Degu is a shrub rat and is a mammal of a rodent squad. In size, these are small animals 95–125 mm and weighing up to 300 grams. To the full size you need to add the length of the tail (65–105 mm), with a small tassel at the end, covered with thick hair. From the side of the back, the degu has a gray-brown color, and on the abdomen is light yellow, although there are animals with an orange tint in the main color.
In the bosom of wildlife, degu live in flocks of up to thirty individuals. These groups are dominated by several leader females, to whom all others obey without question. The animals live in ramified burrows, where they build nests for breeding and comfortable accommodation.
Daegu is a very active and mobile animal, freely moving on the ground, trees and shrubs. It feeds only food of plant origin.
It is strictly forbidden to hold or lift this animal by the tail during direct contact. In this case, the degus sheds its skin from it in order to free itself, and then bites it off in a safe place.
How many individuals are recommended to keep together
Although degu prefers society, but with due attention of the owner to his pet, the option of his solitary content is quite acceptable. In this case, the sex of the animal does not have a special meaning, but males are distinguished by their sociability and easier to tame.
Determine the sex of the animal is not particularly difficult. It is enough to look at the distance between the urethra and the anus. In males, it is much larger than in females.
Allowed in pairs, but preferably they should be of the same age and sex. Animals, in this case, will definitely not be bored.
For a divorce, a small group of these animals is created, consisting of several females and one male. But it should be borne in mind that the formation of a group is permissible with an age limit. Since upon reaching four months the animals will be reluctant to take in new ones, as a result of which serious conflicts may erupt.
Family relationships are not recommended for mating. Otherwise, this may lead to a weakening of the immunity of the future generation, and ultimately, the degeneration of the breed.
Average life expectancy at home and in vivo
In the natural environment, the degu have rather dangerous enemies, for whom innocuous animals are food. As a result, their average life expectancy in the lap of nature is small - a maximum of four years. And only one percent of all newborns live to this age.
At home, the indicator of the life expectancy of animals depends on a number of the following factors:
- Feed quality.
- Proper nutrition.
- Natural health.
- Caring care.
- Comfortable and safe living environment.
Subject to these conditions, degu can develop well and delight their households for nine years. And note, this is a lot, because for this animal this age is equivalent to 120 years of human life.
How to choose and equip a home
One or several rodents degu must be kept in a metal cage with small cells. The required minimum parameters of the cage should be of the following sizes: 60 * 45 * 40 cm (length, width and height, respectively). Despite the small size of animals, they need to feel free, and for this they will need a large and preferably multi-tiered space.
Some owners prefer to arrange a home for degu in glass terrariums of the same volume, but with a grill at the top. The internal arrangement of the cage for these animals usually looks like this:
- As a litter use wood chips, pressed corn cobs or clean paper.
- A small house in the cornerwhere the animals will live and create a nest.
- Sand tankwhich is meant for swimming degu can be positioned on the opposite side.
- For the rest of the free space You can arrange stones, large branches or clay pots.
- On the walls at different heights are several shelves.
- To exit the accumulated energy of the animals is very good to have a squirrel spinning wheel.
- Drinking bowl and several bowls for different feeds are also needed.
- Tree roots and large branches should be mandatory, since rodents need to constantly sharpen their teeth.
- Various bars and the obstacles are needed by the degu for an interesting and active lifestyle.
The cage is installed only in the place that is reliably protected from drafts and direct sunlight.
Care and domestication
Caring for a Chilean squirrel is quite simple. To do this, you need to wash the feeders daily, clean the litter and remove the remnants of food. Clean the cage weekly and disinfect it monthly.
It is not necessary to bathe the animal degu, the squirrel itself cleans the wool in special sand during the “bath” procedures. And during the gnawing of branches or roots, as well as with active movement in the cage, teeth and claws are respectively grinded.
This animal is very friendly, loves attention and does not mind sitting on his hands, making purring sounds when stroking.
Making a degu is manual, learning how to perform simple commands and responding to a nickname is pretty easy. First you need to "convince" the animal in the absolute security of its presence next to the person, without making any sudden movements and loud shouts. Then you can go to direct contact, putting on the palm "treat", which the animal, coming up, should take. And with the right approach, you will quickly find a common language, since degu has a very high level of intelligence among rodents and will immediately understand what they want from it. Therefore, with gentle and careful handling, this animal will be happy to communicate with a person, even with its restless character.
It is interesting! If you study the sounds that these animals make in certain situations and correctly simulate them, the animals will understand you. This can be useful for warning, for example, to drive away from valuable furniture or electric cable, if the animal wants to try them on a tooth during an apartment walk.
Walk with degu
The main advantage of degu is its sociability. There are many cases of strong attachment to humans of various rodents such as hamsters, rats or guinea pigs, but they are far from the squirrel degu. This peace-loving and inquisitive animal very easily and quickly is able to get used to the host society, and during regular classes with it, it is made absolutely tame and obedient to animals.
For a pleasant time together, which will bring you even closer to your pet, you need to take regular walks with him. However, you should pay attention to the following subtleties:
Before making joint walks, it is necessary to establish full confidential contact with your beloved pet, otherwise it may cause additional stress in the animal and it will start to run and hide.
If the cell size allows the animal to lead an active lifestyle, then walking it is enough several times during the week. Otherwise - every day, in order to avoid various diseases due to low mobility, which in some cases even lead to the death of the animal.
It is necessary to carefully monitor all movements of the pet in the apartment, which can conceal a lot of dangers for him. For example, a “seductive” electrical cable that a degus can gnaw through and seriously suffer.
And also, it is advisable to cover photographic equipment, telephones and other equipment from the curious gaze of the animal, which is of particular interest to such devices.
The same applies to the shelves with the home library, as curious animals will try to put their curious nose in there, which does not bode well.
If the squirrel smells the host's favorite smell on clothes or bedding, then holes in them will surely be provided to you.
It should also take into account the flexibility, briskness and speed of movement of these fidgets, so you need to be careful not to accidentally step on or pinch the door of the mischievous.
Despite tenacity and developed instincts, a keen animal can break loose from high objects and even break, so you need to clearly control these moments.
For breeding Chilean squirrels enough to have several females and one male. And in order to avoid conflicts between adults, before mating, the animals should be well accustomed to each other, being in the same society.
The sexually mature squirrel degu is considered to be at 1.5 years old, although it has been tried to mate already in half a year. During the year, the female can produce offspring twice. But for its full recovery, it is better to control this process and not to allow more than one pregnancy per year. On average, one female brings no more than six cubs, although it happens up to twelve.
During the first two weeks, babies feed exclusively on mother's milk, and then they are gradually accustomed to adult food in order to fully switch to it in a few weeks. Young degu become quite independent, after 4-6 weeks, and they can be separated from the mother, as they themselves can take care of themselves.
The most common degu diseases are:
- Intestinal upset
- Skin fungi caused by parasites.
- Limb injuries and fractures.
- Uneven grinding of teeth.
- Lack of vitamins and calcium.
And in conclusion, I would like to note the remarkable survival of the “Chilean squirrel” degus at home with proper and proper care for it. It will not bring you much trouble and will not require a lot of time and effort to maintain. And ultimately, you will get a wonderful, cheerful and loyal friend for a long time, who will become an indispensable member of your family.