Degupdate: Snugglebeasties and DIY

Slowly, the reality of having degus is getting us. No matter how much you read, it’s never going to come close. First of all, the two remaining degus have completely different characters. Candy will come to my hand as soon as I open the door and see if there’s a treat for her. I think before long she’ll ride on our shoulders.

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As a result, Estelle is often missing out on the best treats. She still vanishes either inside the house or behind it and will not move any closer to us. Best we managed so far is that she no longer whistles in panic all the time. I try to place the treat near her while Candy is nibbling hers so she can get her nut as well.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

It’s not like I’m worried about her. She’s obviously growing and in good shape, her fur is shiny and silky, and when I sit down and just watch from a distance, she is active and interacting with Candy.

©Giliell, all rights reserved The picture quality is sadly very bad as there wasn’t much light.

I love watching them. I just sit in an armchair for 15 minutes and watch them “talk” to each other, take a sand bath, or try to destroy Degustan. It’s so relaxing. It also makes me think of Caine a lot and her ratitude.

But talking about the reality: The People Who Tell You About Degus insisted that you can let them run in your room for an hour every day. After the two escapes by Estelle and the one by Candy it’s become clear that this is not an option. The room has way too many places where a degu can vanish and even possibly hurt herself. Also capturing them before they’re totally tame would always mean extreme amounts of stress for the degus, not to mention the risk of being savaged by degu teeth. But there’s also useful ideas on the internet and one lady just built a barrier to give them a bigger run but also protect the room.

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It’s foldable and can be put away when not needed, but I’ll need to do something about the light.

Oh,a nd since the temperatures are getting lower, I bought them a “snuggle safe” heating pad. It gets heated in the microwave and then keeps the warmth for several hours. I much prefer that to a heating lamp, especially over night or when we’re not home. The degus absolutely love it and I can only recommend it if your pet could do with a how water bottle occasionally.

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  1. kestrel says

    I like the barrier idea -- that’s great! Yeah, unfortunately homes are not always ideal for pets to roam freely. We don’t think about it, but there are a lot of hazards for small animals. Some people get by with it, but I would not want to risk these cute girls.

    Glad that Candy is being a pal -- I’m sure Estelle will come along, but it’s going to take time obviously. It’s kind of neat in a way -- they are all different, just like people!

    On the heating pad: do they need heat all night? Or just for a few hours? If they need heat all night it would be tiresome to get up and fill the hot water bottle over and over but I don’t know if they need it all night. There is an option that is possibly relatively safe… they make a chick brooder heater that is much safer than using a light (plus, chicks need dark at night to sleep). They don’t heat up the air; the chicks go under it to get warm. It uses very little electricity. Here they just call them brooder plates. This is a good type, it’s one that I’ve been using for years, and in fact it’s going right at this moment: It has that cover over the top (sold separately) to stop chicks from pooping on it, but it also helps protect the cord, which should of course be guided straight out so they can’t get to it. These adjust to many different heights. I’ve also seen one that is meant as a heater, and it lays on its side, and the animals would just get close to it to get warm. I’m sure they sell these in Germany, it’s a really good system and so much better and way safer than heat lamps.

  2. says

    I’m afraid the degus would turn that plate into lots of expensive plastic waste.
    But sorry for not being clear : it’s not an actual hot water bottle but a plastic “cushion” filled with what is probably a trade secret. After 3 Mins in the microwave it will stay warm for several hours.
    The degus don’t neeeeeed the heat as much as they want, want, want it. They’re not as sensitive as chinchillas that way. Nothing survives in the Andes that can’t cope with 17°C which is about the lowest the room will get and they always have their little house, full with cozy hay to retreat to. But they greatly appreciate the warmth.

  3. kestrel says

    Ah so the operative thing here is they don’t need the heat all night, so that’s great! It’s just a wonderful sort of luxury for them.

    The heat part of those plates are metal, and I imagined that one could wrap or put it in a frame of hardware cloth or some such, but if they don’t need it it’s not worth thinking about.

    In the meantime I so agree, how wonderfully relaxing it is to watch animals go about their small doings. They really are super cute little animals. I hope you will post about them often!

  4. voyager says

    I love watching animals interact. It’s endlessly fascinating.
    I’m glad Candy is getting affectionate and I’m sure Estelle will come around. Creatures that small must have a lot of fear to overcome.

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