With his friendly and sociable air and his lively and quick way of moving, the Degu of Chile, or Ottodon, conquers everyone and has become a beloved pet. The appearance of this rodent native to Latin America is reminiscent of the gerbil, in nature it forms large groups but can also be reared at home: it is easy and does not lose its magical vitality but it is necessary to take care of it carefully.
Degu of Chile: characteristics
We are faced with a pet with a marked communicative nature but his being extroverted is not the only characteristic that distinguishes him. In fact, the octodon has a rather small body but with one tail very particular because it can detach itself from the rest of the rodent without it suffering in the least. This happens because this part of the body is made up of one very thin epidermis layer and that when it is detached it does not grow back but allows the exposed vertebrae to be seen.
But when does it come off? In situations of danger or where ours Degu of Chile he feels threatened in some way. The legs also have a certain importance within the physical structure of the rodent because they are small but essential. Thanks to the claws they are equipped with, they allow the degu to be to climb and also to dig its underground shelters, very spacious dens in which there is room for even a hundred specimens.
Degu of Chile: behavior
Most of the Degu of Chile that are in circulation in the world today, spend their days in the Andes at an altitude including between 500 and 1000 meters. In these rather sparsely inhabited areas these rodents live free or can also be reared at home by the resident populations, because they have proved to be an excellent companion animal.
Their liveliness makes them irresistible and those who think they are common rodents are mistaken because they have an exemplary communication ability. In fact, they manage to emit very characteristic sounds with which they express their mood, it is therefore very easy and almost natural to interact with them and build a relationship that could be similar to what you have with a dog or a cat.
Their loose sociability, however, must not make us forget that they are animals that must be looked after in a very rigorous way, respecting their times and behavior. And not only. Better to take precautions if you leave them free at home because they can have a tendency to bite and gnaw everything what they find around without much scruples. Also be careful to pamper or scramble them, because if they feel threatened they can defend themselves with bites.
Degu of Chile: breeding
Being pets, you can also raise octodons and it is necessary to do so respecting their needs in terms of food, space and habits. There cleaning it is very important, such as the diet that we will see shortly, and the water supply that must be changed every day, often cleaning the drinking bottle drip to avoid hygienic problems.
In prepare the cage in which to host these rodents, we must be sure that the dimensions are the correct ones, that is those that allow the Chilean degu to move and relate to other specimens if there are any. It is better for this to happen, it is recommended to breed this animal at least in pairs to be sure that it does not have to settle for us to spend its day without getting bored.
If you are having trouble setting up the cage, you can also opt for a terrarium but being careful not to use wood that would regularly be nibbled with gusto by the degu.
Immediately after purchasing a specimen, it is best to submit it to a veterinary examination to make sure it is in good health to be monitored with annual checks. Unless our little friend shows suspicious symptoms such as refusal of food, diarrhea and depression which may be signs of a possible disease in progress in the animal. To buy a Chilean Degu you do not need to shell out large sums, a few tens of euros may be enough but it is essential to take into account that it is an important choice, a responsibility, that of taking care of it throughout its life being a very affectionate pet. to your master.
Degu from Chile: what it eats
In addition to our attention, these rodents also want nourishment, so let's see what their diet includes. They are herbivorous animals so they feed on vegetables and roots of different types, you can range but not take too much liberty because there are foods to avoid such as aubergines, potatoes and the green parts of tomatoes because they can even be poisonous. Let's forget about the desserts because they can cause damage and let's feed them large quantities instead of fresh grass and also of hay which are both very welcome.
Degu of Chile: reproduction
As far as the production cycle is concerned, that of the Degus includes one gestation of about 3 months after which females give birth to 2-4, on average, but can go up to 10. If you are hosting a couple of octodons in your home it is best to sterilize them to prevent them from proliferating in an unmanageable way. At most after a first litter where the little ones will be born almost already able to take solid food and will come weaned within 4-6 weeks. If kept in the house, an animal like this can live for about ten years while in its natural environment its life expectancy is about three.
You may also be interested in our article on the Gerbil