Before you buy just another guinea pig or gerbil, consider something better! A mini-chinchilla!

 degu for sale

Meet the degu! Degus, or mini-chinchillas as they are sometimes called, are as easy to care for as a hamster or guinea pig, but are better pets because they are naturally day active, live longer and have a more group oriented personality. They actually like to come out to play during the day time!

Where do pet degus come from?

  Breeders keep degus in little colonies, or harems, of 2 to 4 females with one male. Even with 4 females around, the male does not stay that 'busy'. After mating, it takes a female degu 3 months to give birth to her litter of 3 to 8 pups. When she does give birth however, the pups are fully formed and are up and running within hours (even if they are wobbly). Within just a few weeks the pups are weaned and ready to be their own personalities.

What part of the world are degus native to?

  Degus are members of the scientific sub-order Hystricomorph along with other animals like chinchillas. Degus live in small herds in the semi-arid shrublands on the western slopes of the Andes in southern Chile, while chinchillas live in similar groups higher up on the same mountain ridges. Degus are easily described as small lowland chinchillas with higher heat tolerance.

So, they make good pets?

  Degus make truly excellent pets! Much better than traditional rodents like hamsters and gerbils. For one thing, degus are diurnal, not nocturnal. That is, degus are awake during the day and sleep at night. No squeaking exercise wheel at midnight and no bites on the finger because you are trying to wake a grumpy hamster up in the middle of the afternoon. These guys are energetic, curious and ready to go when you are. And they live 4 or 5 times longer than a gerbil or hamster.

Are they legal to keep?

  That depends upon where you live. In most locations they are quite legal. In some locations, like New Jersey, you only need a permit (like a dog or cat would). In other locations, like California, Georgia, and Alaska, they are completely illegal. Still, by and large, they are widely allowed... you just need to check with your local animal control officer to make sure when you find a degu for sale.

What do they eat?

  NO SUGAR  Substantial leafy greens like mustard greens, collard greens, and spinach (no iceberg lettuce). Clean grass clippings. Clean weeds. Think 'South American rabbit' and you will be close. Degus are not rabbits, but they sure eat like one. If you need commercial foods, they can eat chinchilla food, guinea pig pellets (not as good as chinchilla pellets), and timothy hay cubes. You can feed alfalfa cubes if that is all you can find, but alfalfa has a bit too much sugar in it so you will need to cut back on the number of cubes. Same with seeds... too many simple carbs. A few are OK as a treat.

Do they have health problems?

  No more than you do really. Maybe fewer... Here are some common issues:

Are they OK around kids?

  Again, they are truly excellent pets. Daylight active, longer-lived, outgoing and engaging personality, fewer bites, fewer pet dramas, clean, and quiet. What more could you ask for?

What do I house a degu in?

  Anything glass or metal. A plastic cage will just be a giant chew toy for one night. A rabbit hutch/cage made from wire mesh or a 20 gallon glass aquarium (minimum) would work just fine. It would be better if there were levels and furniture inside to climb and jump around on. Get a exercise wheel at least 6" across. They will like room temperature just fine (but keep it below 85F/30C).

Is it Ok to have more than one degu in a cage?

  It is best if you have 2 or more degus. Degus like company and a single degu is an unhappy degu. Be careful introducing a new male to an established group however, the resident male(s) will likely pick a fight with the new male. Adding new females to a group is not a problem.

How long do they live?

  With proper care? 6 to 8 years.

Where can I buy a degu?

  The two best answers are USDA inspected pet shops and breeders. Many pet shops and breeders do not ship, however, here are two that do:

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