Any animal can bite. Degus aren't too prone to biting but it's still a possibility, especially with young degus who aren't used to you yet. Most people get bitten by degus when trying to hold them--degus don't like being held tightly and some get freaked out and bite/scratch. I never hold new degus, I just let them come to me on their own terms or use a container to scoop them up.You are right. All of our dogs and cats are rescues. They are much better pets that way, I think they know. I have rescued adult rats in the past and loved them as much. They were wonderful pets. I will definitely look at adoption. Have you ever known a Degu to bite? Of the 20 or so rats I have lived with, none have ever truely bitten. The gerbils I had as a teenager did bite (very hard!) sometimes!
I'm not going to lie, degu bites can be pretty painful. I've handled a lot of small animals (including larger animals like rabbits) and my worst bite was from a degu (spiny mice get second place, hehe). Thankfully degu bites are rare (probably slightly more likely than a rat bite but less likely than a hamster bite) but it's something to always be prepared for .
I noticed you mentioned a 5-year-old. I would be cautious letting her handle the degus since young kids have a tendency to hold animals tightly or awkwardly. Degus are quick to let people know if they don't like the way they're being held. I'm sure she'll be fine playing with the degus, feeding them, petting them, etc. I just wouldn't let her hold one until they're really used to handling. If you end up with babies, I wouldn't let her handle them at all. Baby degus are pretty much nuts :lol:. They're very hyper and curious. Most degus just want to explore when they're young and aren't always receptive to human attention until they've matured. I've had a few degus who were friendly but I couldn't handle them at all for the first year. Then they calmed down and became snuggly .