Octodon Degu

Degu Environment

Degu must be kept in a metal or wooden cage. A large parrot, rat or ferret cage can be ideal. Wire floors must be covered since degus can develop a painful condition called bumblefoot as a result of wire floors; floor can be covered these with cardboard or similar material to prevent bumblefoot.

Degu need to be kept in a room free of drafts, with natural light cycles but outside of direct sunlight, and a steady temperature that does not exceed 20°

Cage size

Since degu can be kept happily in groups, the size of the cage does depend on the number of animals within. Degu are extremely active, so a minimum of 100cm x 50cm with multiple levels is a good minimum for a pair. Bar spacing should not exceed 2cm to avoid the risk of escapees.

Substrate and bedding

Sawdust, or anything pine or cedar based should not be used since it can affect the lungs of rodents and cause respiratory problems. Items such as Carefresh are quite good and absorbent, whilst still allowing space for burrowing. A cheaper alternative for this is to get a horse bedding such as MegaZorb.Other suitable substrates include Ectopetbed, Bedmax, bedexcel and finacard.

Your degu will also need a suitable nesting materials, such as shredded paper.

Toys and Nests

Pet Wooden ledges, hammocks, tubes and ropes make good climbing opportunities and enrichment. A large wooden nesting box should be given, with pet-safe bedding or stuffed with hay. You can also provide branches from trees providing you have taken care to check the wood is safe for rodents.

Ceramic tiles are a good addition to your cage, especially during summer. These can be placed in the fridge before adding to the cage.

A sandbath is loved by degu. This can be offered for an hour a day and then removed, or left in permanently. If the latter, you will need to regularly sieve for faeces and clumps.

Your degu must have multiple nest boxes, ones intended for Chinchillas are a good size for them. You can also use large terracotta pots or thick cardboard. Nests will be gnawed upon and will need to be changed frequently.


A large, solid based wheel is essential for them to exercise in. This needs to be large enough that they can run without an arched back and make of wood or metal.