“Chilean squirrel” degu will surely appeal to many fans of unusual Pets. It is a small rodent and looks like a chinchilla, Coney and squirrel at the same time. Carefully read this article you will know closer this friendly animal and you’ll understand why it’s so attractive for keeping in the home. Namely, he eats, how he lives and how it reproduces this playful pet.
Degu belongs to the shrub rat is a mammal of the rodent family. The size is small animals 95-125 mm and a weight of 300 grams. To full size need to add, and length of tail (65-105 mm), with a small tassel on the end, covered with dense hair. Back side degu has a gray-brown color, and the abdomen is light yellow, although there are animals with orange hue in the main color.
Surrounded by wildlife degus inhabit flocks of up to thirty individuals. In these groups dominated by a few female leaders, to whom all the others obey without question. Animals live in extensive burrows, where it constructs nests for hatching and comfortable accommodation.
Is strictly prohibited by direct contact to keep or to raise this animal by the tail. In this case degu relieve his skin to break free, and then in a safe place his bite off.
How many individuals are advised to keep together
Although degu prefers the company of, but with due attention to the owner of the pet, it is quite acceptable version of his solitary confinement. The gender of the animal does not really matter, but males are characterized by their sociability and easier to tame.
To determine the sex of the animal presents no special difficulties. It is enough to look at the distance between the urethra and the anus. In males it is much larger than the females.
Allowed pairs, but preferably they should be the same age and gender. Animals, in this case, bored just do not have.
For divorce create a small group of these animals, consisting of several females and one male. But it should be noted that the formation of a group is permissible with the age limit. Because, upon reaching four months the animals will be reluctant to accept newcomers, which could erupt serious conflicts.
Kinship, mating is not recommended. Otherwise it may lead to weakening of the immune system future generations, and ultimately the degeneration of the breed.
The average duration of life in domestic and natural conditions
In the natural environment, degu enough dangerous enemies, for which innocent animals are food. With the result that their average length of life close to nature small — a maximum of four years. And only one percent of all newborns survive to this age.
At home, the life expectancy of the animals depends on a number of the following factors:
- The quality of food.
- Proper nutrition.
- The natural health.
- Caring care.
- Comfortable and safe living environment.
Under these conditions, degus can develop and delight your family for nine years. And mind you, it’s a lot, after all, this animal, this age is equivalent to 120 years of human life.
How to choose and arrange accommodation
One or more rodents degus should be kept in a metal cage with a small mesh. The required minimum cell parameters should be the following sizes: 60*45*40 cm (length, width, and height respectively). Despite its small size animals, they need to feel free, and for this they need a large and preferably multi-tiered space.
Some owners prefer to arrange housing for degus in glass terrariums of the same size, but with a lattice top.
The internal arrangement of the cages for these animals is usually as follows:
- As bedding use wood chips, extruded corn on the cob or a clean paper.
- A small house in the cornerwhere the animals will live and create the socket.
- A container of sandthat is intended for swimming degu can be positioned on the opposite side.
- The rest of the free space to place the stones, large branches or clay pots.
- On the walls at different heights is a few shelves.
- To output the accumulated energy from the animals is very good to have a rotating squirrel cage.
- A drinking bowl and several bowls for different foods is also necessary.
- The roots of trees and large branches should be mandatory, as rodents need to constantly grind his teeth.
- Various rails and obstacles need degus for a fun and active lifestyle.
Cell set only place that is protected from drafts and direct sunlight.
What to feed a squirrel degu
Problems with feeding this animal in the home usually arise.
Although in the menu to your pet, you need to consider the following key points:
- Due to the factthat degus are exclusively herbivorous animals, their diet should be based only on plant foods.
- To avoid the disease diabetes do not need to feed the animals fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of sugar.
- For proper nutrition you can use finished feed such as Vitakraft, Versele — laga, or Beaphar. These foods contain all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that Pets need.
- Mandatory year-round food should be high quality hay, and in summer freshly cut grass or other succulent feed, the transition to which you need to carry out gradually with small portions. Degu love to eat lettuce, clover or alfalfa.
- These rodents are good to eat mixed grain from barley, oats, millet and wheat. To the problem of solid feed will carry the branches and bark of pear, Apple, lime, willow.
- Dried fruit unsweetened varieties of pears and apples, and chopped carrots in small quantities are quite reasonable dish for Chilean protein.
- Sometimes, in small doses suitable rose hips and hawthorn, chokeberry, corn, sunflower seeds or pumpkin. Although such feed is usually used to tame the animal.
The care and taming
To care for Chilean squirrel is quite simple. For this you need a daily wash trough, clean up litter and remove uneaten food. Weekly to clean the cage and disinfect monthly.
The animal degu to bathe don’t need protein itself cleans the coat in a special sand during the “bathrooms” procedures. And during gryzenia branches or roots, and with the active movement in the cell naturally worn down teeth and claws, respectively.
This animal is very friendly, loves attention and does not mind to sit on your hands, uttering purring sounds when stroked.
Do degus manual, to teach them to perform simple tasks and react to the nickname quite easy. First you need to “convince” the animal in the absolute security of its location near the person, without making sudden movements and loud shouts. You can then jump to the direct contact, laying on the palm “food,” which the animal came must take. And with the right approach you will quickly find a common language, as well as degu has a very high level of intelligence among rodents and immediately understand what he should do. Therefore, when soft and careful handling, this animal will be happy to communicate with someone, even with his restless character.
It’s fun! If you examine the sounds that emit these animals in certain situations and how to simulate them, the animals will understand you. This is useful to prevent, for example, to drive away from valuable furniture or electrical cable, if the animal wants during apartment walk to try them on the tooth.
Walk with degu
The main advantage of degu is its sociability. There are many instances of strong attachment to man the various rodent-type hamsters, rats or Guinea pigs, but to degu squirrel them away. This peace-loving and inquisitive animal very easily and quickly able to adjust to the host society, and with regular lessons with him, he is completely tame and docile animals.
For pleasant joint pastime, which will further bring you closer together with your pet, you need to make regular trips with him. However, we should pay attention to the following details:
Before you commit to going, you need to establish full rapport with your beloved pet, otherwise it may cause additional stress in the animal, and it will start to run and hide.
If the dimensions of the cells allow the animal to lead an active lifestyle, then take him for a walk quite a few times during the week. Otherwise, on a daily basis, in order to avoid various diseases due to low mobility, which in some cases lead even to death of the animal.
You need to carefully monitor any movement of a pet in the apartment, which can be fraught with many dangers for him. For example, the “seductive” electric cable which degus can chew through and hurt themselves.
And also, it is desirable to cover photo equipment, phones and other equipment from the curious gaze of the animal, which manifests to such devices of particular interest.
If the squirrel will smell a favorite scent of the owner on clothing or bed linen, holes in them you will be certainly assured.
Should also take into account flexibility, vitality and speed of movement of these fidgets, so you need to be careful not to inadvertently step on or not to pinch the door of mischief.
Despite the tenacity and developed instincts, passionate animal can break away from tall objects, and even break, so you need precise control of these moments.
Breeding Chilean squirrels enough to have several females and one male. And in order to avoid conflicts between the adults before mating, the animals should be well used to each other, while in the same society.
Mature protein degu is considered to be 1.5 -year old, while trying to mate already in six months. During the year, the female half can breed. But to fully restore it to better control this process and prevent more than one pregnancy per year. On average, a female brings no more than six cubs, but sometimes up to twelve.
During the first two weeks the kids are fed exclusively with mother’s milk, and then gradually accustom them to the adult feed to few weeks to completely switch to it. Young degus have become quite independent, after 4-6 weeks and can be weaned from mother, as they will be able to take care of themselves.
The most common disease of degus:
- Disorder of the intestine.
- Skin fungus caused by parasites.
- Limb injuries and fractures.
- Uneven grinding of the teeth.
- Of the tumor.
- The lack of vitamins and calcium.
In conclusion, I want to highlight the remarkable survival of the “Chilean squirrels” degu at home with proper and appropriate care for her. It will not bring you much hassle and will not require a lot of time and effort to its content. And ultimately, you will become a wonderful, cheerful and loyal friend for a long time, which will become an indispensable member of your family.