Degus Need Conspecifics

Degus are not cuddly animals – but it is still a lot of fun to watch the beautiful, rat-like rodents digging and darting around. But one thing is very important if you are interested in degu keeping: No degu wants to live alone. It doesn’t want to share its existence with another rodent or rabbit, but needs conspecifics – absolutely!

Communication Does Not Work With Rabbits

Rabbits and degus are very similar to rabbits and guinea pigs: In individual cases, it can work to get rodents and long-eared animals used to each other, and that they may even peacefully share the cage. Big but: a rabbit is not an appropriate social partner for a degu. Because the problem here is the “language barrier”: hoppers communicate very differently than the agile, nimble rodents from Chile. This means that rabbits and degus cannot understand each other at all, even if they want to. The same problem exists with Meerlis and Chinchillas, even if degus even have family ties with both. And a hamster as a cage mate is not at all suitable – after all, this is a loner.

Degus Need a Clan

So you should never keep a degu together with an “alien” rodent. Rather, your cute rodent needs a clan to be happy! Because that’s how degus live in the great outdoors, in their homeland in Chile. There they live in family groups of five to ten animals and have a pronounced social life. This even goes so far that several females can give birth at the same time and all young animals with the same nest odor are taken care of by all suckling females. The individual families are in turn grouped into loose colonies. The clans border one another, but each one has a fixed territory. A few hundred degus can often live in such a colony.

Why Degus Need Conspecifics

Degus like to play, romp and dig together for their life. In between, they keep proving their friendship. It then looks like they lovingly gnaw each other’s fur. It’s rather difficult with rabbits or Meerlis. Therefore, you should by no means withhold from your fellow degu and not just keep it together with other rodents. When degusting, you should always provide a sand bath with special chinchilla bath sand. Like their relatives, the chinchillas, degus use this for personal hygiene. But it also serves to relieve tension and serve as a social meeting point. You can often see that your degus get into the bowl together – after all, everything is much more fun together!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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