Common Degu ( Octodon degus )

The Octodon degus or ( Octodon ) are a rodent species belonging to the family of deceit rats ( Octodontidae ).

There are four types:

  • The Common Degu ( Octodon degus ), which is widely used as a pet,
  • The Walddegu ( Octodon bridgesi )
  • The Küstendegu ( Octodon lunatus ) and
  • The Pazifikdegu ( Octodon pacificus ).


Degus reach a body length 12-20 cm and a tail length of 10-16 centimeters. Ordinary degus weigh 170 to 300 grams, the other types tend to be slightly heavier. The fur of these animals is yellow-brown or gray-brown. A brush -like tail tuft is only available with the ordinary Degu. In all four paws, the first four toes are well developed and provided with sharp claws; the fifth toe is regressed. The head is relatively heavy, the eyes and ears are relatively large. The incisors are colored orange, the cusps of the molars arranged in the shape of a figure eight, as noted by the generic name Octodon ( "Eight tooth" ) alludes.

Degus are an average of four to six years old, in good posture but also a significantly higher life expectancy is possible.

Distribution and habitat

Degus are located almost exclusively in Chile, only the Walddegu also occurs in adjacent regions of Argentina. They inhabit different habitats: the Common Degu rather shrub land, other species live in forests.

Way of life

The way of life of each species differs, but is only the ordinary Degu better researched. This is diurnal and nocturnal, while other representatives ( at least the Walddegu ) are only active at night. Ordinary degus live in groups in self-dug Building. Whether this is true also for the other species is unclear. The food consists of different plant parts.


Degus eat mostly grasses and bark. If they are kept as pets, you feed them with hay, lettuce and carrots. However, fruit do not tolerate degus because they develop rapidly with sugary diet diabetes mellitus. Cause an Adverse occurring in most mammals form insulin.

Degus and people

The Walddegu is extinct in parts of its range and is considered rare. Endangered IUCN is the Pazifikdegu who lives only on the island Mocha off the Chilean coast. Ordinary degus, however, are widely used as experimental and as pets around the world.