I can't tame my degus!!! Please help - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
Degu Discussion Twitching whiskers, curious noses, and all things degu related.

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2004
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Unhappy I can't tame my degus!!! Please help

I have had my 2 male degus for about 8 months now, i brought them from a pet shop when they were 6 months, the woman in the shop told me they were friendly, but when i got them home it was obvious they were not.
Sox and Whiskarz settled in well, but there were a few problems. Sox would bite, but let me touch his head, while Whiskarz would let me get near him, but never tried to hurt me.
Ever since i got them i have been trying to tame them, sox no longer bites, and i can touch whiskarz' back, but i haven't gotten any further for at least 1 month! Please can you help me?!
(They are so sweet and i would to pick them up. But because i can't hold them things like cleaning them out become ****, and i can't try to touch one without the other trying to escape from the cage!)
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 39
Donīt worry, some never like to be picked up, they are not cuddly like other animals - mostly
Biting is not good though and he probably does it because he is afraid and not trusting you. Stop picking them up and offer food and healthy treat on your hands which you lay in the cage and donīt move untzl they come up to you and just let them sniff your hands out. Be patient and just leave your hands in the cage for a looooong time. They learn to trust you and might even like to climb on you, some never like tobe petted.
as for the cleaning. Put a little box in the cage (Tissue box or so) and cover it up when the deguis inside and put them in a temorary chew-proof container while you clean the cage, same with the other degu.
My cage has several levels and I close the pass through with a tile so I can clean one part after the other.
They willmost likely do better when they have a bigger cage. Mine were rescues and when we willa huge cage for them, they became friendlier.
Donīt give up, it just takes time!!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 02:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I'm having some problems as well. I just bought two male degus that won't stop biting the cage wires. I thought they might just be gnawing to sharpen their teeth, but they have a log and a little wooden house to chew on now and they still do it all the time. I tried to teach them to stop with some success by saying stop and tapping their little noses when they chew. Now, they only chew when I'm not around. I'm afraid they'll start to chew on the plastic bottom between the wires and eventually get out. What should I do to stop them from chewing?

My degus are already starting to become tame, thankfully. One of them lets me pet him on his back but only for a little while. I tried to get them used to me moving them when they crawl on my hand, but they jump off whenever I move more than just a little. I figure if they ever get away, it'd be easier to get them back if they were used to sitting on my moving hand. Because, one of them got away once already because the cage wires on the top of the cage are too wide. I put a box on top of the cage and he hasn't been able to get away again, but it took me hours of waiting for him to come out from under the cabinet and I chased him twice before I cornered him and stuffed up the entrance with a towel. I know that some degus never let people hold them, but I'd still like to try. Is there any ways that would get them used to staying on my hand?

Lastly, my most important question: I often stay up late at night and I'm not sure if locking them in my bathroom when it gets late is a good solution. There is abolutely no light if I close the door, but if I leave the door open, my friends and I would probably keep them awake. I'm also tired of moving the cage which stirs them and scares them. The cage is also kid of big and cumbersome to get around and through doors. They seem to be fine in my room, but they wake up at night (yeah, I've read about the short sleep cycles) and it bothers me to hear them crunching on their cages or spinning their wheel. This sleeping issue is giving me the most headaches. I don't mind if they won't want to be carried on my hand or if they chew on the wires during the day, but I can't stand moving them around anymore. After they're moved, they don't want to goto sleep right away and just cause all kinds of ruckus kicking stuff out of their cage looking for food even though there is plenty of hay.

Sorry for the long post, I would appreciate any advice.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-04-2004, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 39
The degus main characteristic is chewing and I know of a lot of people who have gone crazy about it.
Guess there is not much you can do but provide them with more and intering chewing objects in the cage. Mine rather chew on branches (safe are apple tree, hazelnut, birch, willow, all not sprayed of course). Mine also chew more when I donīt have a wheel for them. Oh, please always provide them with lots of Timothy hay, they also love to chew that and it should be their main part of their diet.
Yours wouldnīt be the first ones who chewed through the plastic cage bottom. You could put tiles on the floor and protect the corners with metal shields (home depot) or build a new base of sheet metal or tiled wood.

I wouldnīt be worried about waking them at night, theyīll find time to sleep when they want to. I found outthat they are pretty active at night anyway. Iīd be more worried about getting enough sleep myself. Canīt you leave the cage in the living room where you donīt here them at night?

As for the taming - patience! I wouldnīt force them and offer treats on my hands so that they think your hands are a great place to be. Mine started climbing on my arms and shoulders but
still feel uneasy being transported on the hands but a few and I canīmove to another shelf inside the cage without jumping off.
When one escapes, I recommend having a box with a hole and letting them hop in and then cover the entrance, or use the sand bath if it is in a glass bowl, or a cardbox carpet roll and cover the openings up with cdīs. They usually like to explore dark caves and it is easier than chasing them around.
Hope I could help.

P.S. I throw the food on the bottomof the cage and put hay on top of it. They are busy trying to find the food and Ithinkit gives themsomething to do. In the wild they need to work for their food as well.... and itis funto watch them

Last edited by Phoebe; 08-04-2004 at 03:45 PM.
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