Priest Lake Veterinary Hospital

2445 Morris Gentry Blvd
Nashville, TN 37013-2073



Degu Husbandry



Natural Habitat

Indigenous to the Andes Mountains in northern and western Chile, degus (Octodon degus) inhabit regions close to thickets, rocks, and stone walls. These diurnal and sociable rodents are colony-dwellers, crafting burrows beneath rocks or shrubs.



To cater to their natural chewing tendencies, degus require a spacious multilevel cage (minimum dimensions of 24″ × 18″ × 24″) made of metal. The cage floor should be smooth to prevent foot problems, and it is advisable to use soft bedding. Your Nashville Degu veterinarian can provide many different recommendations. Avoid potentially irritating bedding such as pine or cedar shavings, and offer materials like paper towels or hay for shredding. Enrich their living space with connecting tunnels, nesting boxes, and an exercise wheel.



Maintain a room temperature around 68°F for degus, safeguarding them from drafts and direct sunlight to prevent overheating.



Renowned for their curiosity and playfulness, degus require an area for exercise and chewing. Incorporate connecting tunnels, an exercise wheel, clean wooden branches, and wooden blocks in their cage for stimulation. Offering a dust bath with chinchilla dust 1 or 2 times a week for 15 to 20 minutes aids degus in eliminating excess skin oils.



Degus thrive on a diet consisting of guinea pig pellets, chinchilla pellets, and rodent chow. Ensure access to Timothy hay at all times and provide fresh leafy green vegetables daily. Supply fresh water in bottles or heavy ceramic bowls.



Degus typically enjoy a lifespan of approximately 7 years, spanning from 5 to 8 years.



Handle degus with care, refraining from picking them up by the tail or scruff to prevent "fur-slip," a natural defense mechanism involving the shedding of skin and fur from their tail. Given their social nature, it's beneficial to keep degus in pairs or more, with spaying or neutering recommended to prevent reproduction. Regular handling helps acclimate them to human interaction.


Common Medical Conditions

Degus are susceptible to diabetes mellitus, emphasizing the importance of avoiding sweet foods like fruits and yogurt snacks. A high-roughage diet helps prevent this condition. Proper handling is crucial to prevent fur-slip. "Sore nose," characterized by red, raw, irritated facial skin, may arise due to excessive humidity and unsanitary living conditions. Consult your veterinarian if you observe these signs. Extended separation may lead to aggression during reintroduction, necessitating a slow, supervised process if required.

If you have any concerns about your Degu’s health, call your Nashville Degu Vet at Priest Lake Veterinary Hospital.