How to make your degus feel at home

Although degus are small creatures, they can be very active and need plenty of space to run around. Providing your degus with suitable spacious housing – with degu-friendly toys and activities – will help keep them active, happy and healthy.

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Creating the right environment for your degus

Degus are active during the day and early evening. They are very active mammals who enjoy jumping from rock to rock and moving at a fast pace in the wild, so their cage should allow them to recreate these behaviours.

The ideal temperature for their cage is between 18-21°C – but make sure you don’t place it next to a window or a radiator.

The ideal cage design for a pair of degus

Choose a cage with a solid metal base - plastic or mesh can cause injury and discomfort. Minimum sizes:

  • Bar spacing: 12-14mm
  • Depth: 63cm
  • Width: 93cm
  • Height: 159cm

Keep your degus happy and occupied

Degus are very active and enjoy items in their cage that they can chew, jump on and even dig in! It is very important to furnish the cage with safe items that your degus can’t injure themselves on.

Your degus will enjoy:

  • Twigs and stumps or apple, pear or willow tree branches for them to chew and jump on
  • Wooden or card boxes for them to sleep in
  • Wooden platforms. Degus love to jump from level to level – these are great for breaking up the space and preventing falls from a height. They also enjoy having a snooze on these!
  • Paper bags, toilet or kitchen rolls stuffed with hay
  • Card or hard plastic tunnels – make sure these are not broken or have sharp edges to avoid injuries
  • Rodent ropes for them to run along
  • Degu-friendly large wheels for them to run on
  • Dust bath in a metal tray. Ideally, allow your degus access to a dust bath several times a week to keep their fur and skin healthy.

Avoid these degu toys:

  • Hanging toys such as parrot or rodent ropes and swings. As degus are very fast and reactive, they can damage their legs or become caught on hanging items
  • Soft plastic toys will be destroyed very quickly and may become dangerous
  • Any toys that the degus may trap their legs in while jumping about

Choosing the right degu bedding

Make sure your degus have a nice, soft bedding base for their cage, rather than using a mesh floor. This will avoid injury and help meet their natural behavioural and environmental needs.

Cross-cut short shredded paper is the most cost-effective and easy-to-locate degu bedding. You can also use normal shredded paper created at home or in an office. It’s absorbent and creates a nice, soft, bouncy floor for your degus. Another option is soft, short meadow hay. This is not only soft but also allows them to naturally forage for food as degus can eat hay.

Never use wood shavings or sawdust for your degus. These can be very dusty and are a common cause of skin related illnesses.

Your degus will often choose to sleep either on a platform or inside a box. To make it comfortable for them, line these with soft, good quality hay.

How to clean out your degus

Clean your degus’ cage out weekly to help keep them in good health. Each day, use a small dustpan and brush to sweep the platforms and any areas with a build-up of poo to prevent illness.

When doing a full clean, always use a pet-safe disinfectant to clean the cage. Take the opportunity to add a few new toys in the cage for interest, like a new apple branch or box for your degu to explore.