by Adelheid Stahnke and Hubert Hendrichs
Grzimek's Encyclopedia, vol 3
The octodonts owe their scientific name Octodontidae (eight-toothed rodent) to the masticatory surfaces of their molars, which have the form of an "8". We know the most about the habits of the Degu (Octodon degus). Like the other octodont species, the degu is similar to the rat in size and proportions. Its physical adaptions to a subterranean mode of life are a squat body and short neck, a large head, a long tail with brush-like hair at the tip, which it raises slightly when walking, and long whiskers. Hearing and other senses are well-developed in this species. The hind legs are shorter than the forelimbs. Degus have five toes with claws on each of their forefeet and hind feet.
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