Degus: Choosing a House!

Degus are quite simply inveterate chewers. These high energy social animals spend their days foraging for victuals and digging burrows…..lots and lots of burrows.

In the wild, the degu natural habitat revolves around this series of burrows. In fact, wild degus have actually been observed to form what researchers call “digging chains,” where lots of degus work together in a coordinated fashion to dig an entire network of underground burrows where they can safely care for their young, rest, eat and socialize.

So in caring for degus in captivity, it is important to select just the right degu enclosure that still offers all the amenities your degu will need to be a happy, healthy member of your family.

Here is a list of the basic items you will need for degu housing, along with some suggestions for each:

Enclosure

You want to offer a large degu cage – as large as you can fit and afford – with plenty of room for exercise and activities. Degus are active and need to be able to move freely. If you plan to keep a pair of degus, be sure to adjust your enclosure size accordingly.  You want the degu house to be wide and tall enough to fit a degu wheel, ledges for climbing, a hammock or mat for sleeping, treats, food, bedding and other essential degu toys and accessories.

Choose either a chew-proof plastic tub or a degus cage with metal bars. Most cages designed for chinchillas or other rodents should work. Be sure to avoid any plastic parts (your degu will chew right through those).

As well, before you look for degu cages for sale, first be sure examine the degu cage size and degu accessories in detail to be sure you consider any possible way an unanticipated accident could occur. For example, could any of the moving parts in the degu cage setup potentially catch a foot or tail (or even a neck)? Could your degu chew through the bottom? Does the enclosure have doors that close securely? If your degu does try to chew through the enclosure, could any ingested material be toxic?

With that note, make SURE your chosen degu enclosure doesn’t have a mesh floor. This can cause a condition known as “bumblefoot” (essentially, sore feet). Also, the best degu cage will never have a plastic floor or it may become an escape route.

Finally, when comparing degu cage ideas, resist the temptation to use an aquarium for a degu house. Even the largest aquariums won’t provide the right type of ventilation or a layout that will support the multi-level enrichment environment your degu will most enjoy.

Bedding

The degu bedding you choose for your pet’s new enclosure should be suitable for shredding, hiding and flinging – all activities degus enjoy very much (and which might also mean you want to think through in advance how to keep the bedding inside the enclosure rather than all over your floors).

Also be aware that degus will likely try to ingest some of the bedding at some point, so as part of your degu care regimen, you will want to choose something that won’t cause toxicity or impaction.

TOXIC BEDDING TO AVOID: pine, cedar. Also avoid kitty litter, corncob, chlorophyll and sawdust bedding.

Here are two types of bedding that are safe suitable for degus:

Carefresh Bedding
Zoo Med aspen snake bedding

It is totally fine to mix the Carefresh with some aspen bedding.

You should plan to clean your degu enclosure at least twice per week or more frequently as needed to maintain optimum sanitation for your pet’s health.