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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Sequim, Washington
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Please help...I live in washington...

I recently purchased a Degu on a whim from the only Pet shop we have in Port Angeles, WA that sells exotic animals. I was thinking a Degu was similar care to a hamster or mouse, considering he was being kept in the same glass aquariums the other pets were. I was not told otherwise when I purchased him...However upon going home and researching my new pet, I have learned he needs a VERY large cage and more importantly, a companion.

When I called the pet store with my concerns, I was told all that I had read was untrue, I could not get my money back, and she would take him, but would quarantine him and be put back in his tank.....

I live in Sequim, WA and cannot find another place that sells Degus. The store I even got him from doesnt have any more. He was their last one, and even then I'm not exactly amped to get one from there...

Any suggestions? I dont want the little guy depressed...Thank you.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 03:17 PM
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First of all i'm going to give you a quick sum-up of degu care

HOUSING
A minimum that i have used for degu housing is 13x25 which isn't very big and would only cost about $20 off of craigslist or from a simple pet store. That size will work great for one degu as long as you give him time out of his cage every day. Always have wood and cardboard available in the cage so they can trim their teeth or she may drive you nuts chewing on the bars of the cage. They are best in a plastic-bottomed wire cage (such as something you'd keep a guinea pig in). They normally love to climb so try putting a branch in there for them to run around on. I always provide one good-sized hide for them to sleep in along with some cloth. I keep one of my baggy used shirts in there for them to cuddle with. It provides comfort and a sense of smell from you. Always provide plenty of toys so they don't get bored. Little wooden treats, balls, ropes, hammocks, and other ect stuff works great for them.

FOOD
Guinea pig food is a good semi-supplement for them and will keep them healthy. Try to make sure it is Timothy-based as that is healthier for them. Actual degu food is even better yet. Be careful when feeding them though because only a limited amount should be given per day to ensure they don't get overweight with diabetes. They get diabetes easily. I usually give mine a small handful every day and that keeps her at a pretty good weight.
As for treats... they should be used for just that... treats. For training and socializing. In little moderation, broccoli, green beans, dandelion leaves, fresh mint and parsley, carrot tops, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, and lettuce are good. I wouldn't feed a lot though. Okay for once a month feeding, peas, carrots, apple, cucumber, and cherry tomatos. A weekly treat can be red or green pepper, radish, instant oatmeal oats, and soda crackers. Again, be careful with feeding them these as fruits are high in sugar.
Hay is also very important. It is best to feed them Timothy Hay in unlimited amounts as it's good for the digestive tract.
Always supply plenty of water. They will drink from a bottle but I do notice that adult degus prefer a bowl but the bowl needs refreshing at least twice a day to maintain hygeine.

HANDLING
Never pick them up by their tail or squeeze them. A simple know-all with rodents. Scoop them up instead of grabbing them and give her plenty of time outside of her cage. They do do better in pairs but if you give her plenty of attention until you can get her a friend, she will do fine. If she was previously housed alone she should be used to it and will do fine as long as you provide plenty of love every day. Mine lives single and I take her out for about 2 hrs every day and she is perfectly content on her own.

In the meantime, if you are not interested in the care for her, look into selling her to someone who knows degus and will provide plenty of love to her. Hope this helped

~ Proud mommy of rabbits, rodents, and a dog ~
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 05:18 PM
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HomeworkCrazy has provided some good advice.

I think you should go to a dedicated degu site like deguworld or degutopia and post your situation there. They have many members from the US; maybe you can find someone nearby who is willing to adopt him from you if you can't keep him. Otherwise, they can provide you with advice on how to proceed.

You will need a more suitable cage. I like the Midwest CritterNation cages that come in both single and double units.

You will also need to figure out if he is a male or a female. Unlike hamsters, rats, gerbils, the males store their bits inside so the males and females look very similar. Get help with this – many pet stores and animal shelters make mistakes. Plus, you should really get him a companion of the same sex. Degus need the company of their own kind.

Best of luck to you. Please post any specific questions here; there are quite a few of us that can help. But also go to the degu forums.
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