What is a Degu?
A degu pronounced day goo is a small tweedy brown South American herbivore that hails from the semi arid environment of the Western slopes of Andes Mountain Range in Mid Chile. They are found between 1200-3500m above sea level and research has found them to be poorly adapted to high altitudes unlike their cousins the Chinchilla. The climate is Meditteranean likewith hot, dry arid summers and cold wet winters with temperatures between 0°c and 40°c. Degus are usually more active during the early morning and evening time, during the high heat of the day degus will retreat to their burrows emerging once the temperature has cooled down late afternoon time.
Degu’s belong to the order Rodentia and belong to the sub order Caviomorpha, which means they are in the same family as guinea pigs, chinchillas and porcupines. Their Latin name is Octodon degus, which basically translates as eight-toothed grazer. So far four different species of degu have been found:
The common degu (Octodon degus) The moon toothed degu (Octodon lunatus)
Bridges degu (Octodon bridgesi) Mocha island degu (Octodon pacificus)
The Mocha Island degu is the most recent discovery and is only native to Mocha Island. The common degu is the one most commonly found as pets throughout Europe and the USA
and the species referred to as a degu.
They are about the size of your palm of your hand and are covered in a tweedy brown fur with a medium length tail that is covered in fine bristles which bush out at the end of the tail.
They are highly social and in the wild they live in small family groups spending their time grazing, foraging, communally bathing and sleeping. They have come onto the pet scene in the last 10 years and are becoming increasingly popular as pets.