What Is a Degu?

An Octodon Degu eating basil leaves.

A degu will make your life exciting. These little known pets are cute, fun, and lovable.

This cute and tiny pet that’s part of the rodent family can make a great companion animal. Here’s the scoop on some things you should know before you bring a degu home.

You May Be Making a 9-Year Commitment

On average, a degu will live 6 to 8 years in captivity, and 9 years is considered the maximum. Since many people do not know what a degu is or how to care for one, finding a new owner for your pet may be tough, so if you don’t plan on having a pet for more than a few years, you may want to go with something like a hobby rat, which has a lifespan of about 3 years.

A Degu Likes Things Clean

Don’t be fooled by the fact it is a rodent. Your degu won’t be able to clean its own messes, but it will certainly be happier if you do so. All it takes is a pet-friendly disinfectant to clean the cage on a weekly basis, and your pet will be happier and healthier.

This Is a Social Animal

If you do not intend to spend hours every day with your degu, you should get more than one. If you bond with this pet when it is young, it will become very attached to you.

They Are Awake During the Day

A frequent complaint about rodents as pets is that most of them are nocturnal. Degus are an exception. A nice thing about a diurnal pet (awake during the day) is that you can keep the cage in a sleeping area without worrying about being regularly disturbed by something that is up all night. Plus, you get to spend more time with your pet when you are both awake.

Diet and Exercise

Your degu will need a special diet and plenty of exercise in order to be healthy and live a full life. In addition to having a wheel in the cage, you can play with your degu. Just watch the tail because it may come off if grabbed. While this won’t harm your pet too badly, it will result in stress and could affect its health over time.

In short, degus are fun pets that can become a friend for many years.

The Sugar Glider Crash Course

A sugar glider on a branch.

These cute little critters need all the love they can get. Take the right steps to making your sugar glider happy.

Sugar gliders can make great pets. However, the one thing most new owners do wrong is thinking that a big cage with lots of room to jump and play is all that a sugar glider needs in order to be happy. That’s a good start, but there is much more involved.

Nesting, Bedding, and Sleeping

Your sugar glider cage needs to have some good bedding material. You also want a small nesting space. A plastic cage will make cleaning easier since your glider will urinates in the nesting space a lot, and it will need to be cleaned regularly. For sleeping, a nice pouch is a good addition. Gliders love pouches, and if you bonded with it from young on, it will even sleep in your shirt/jacket pocket.

A Sugar Glider Likes Things Clean

An animal that urinates in its nesting box may not seem like a very clean animal, but your glider will not stay happy for long in a messy cage. It is especially important to clean out the nesting box to keep a smell from developing.

Don’t worry about replacing the nesting box or bedding material from time to time. While some pets become upset by change, your glider will actually appreciate it. After all, in the wild the animal would have had to forage for more materials from time to time, so new bedding won’t seem foreign for long.

Companionship Is a Must

Finally, you may want to consider having more than one sugar glider. This is a social animal, and if you have only one, it will have to bond strongly with you to be happy. That means several hours with you per day. If you don’t mind it sleeping in your pocket every day, you may be able to get away with just one. However, most people will get busy with work or other activities and ignore this small pet for days at a time. It may be easier to ignore a glider than a dog, but the glider will get just as depressed.

In short, while sugar gliders require some commitment, they make a great pet.