Degu care – how to handle degus
Degu care starts with ensuring they are healthy and happy. Ensure they are fed correctly and that you can provide a suitable environment. Let any new degu settle in to their new home for at least a week before handling. Ensure the cage is in a good location that helps keep them relaxed.
- Start handling your degu when they are still young if at all possible.
- Choose your moment: degus are most active during the day and won’t appreciate being handled when sleepy. Wait until they are eating or playing before handling.
- Spend time near the cage and use your voice so they become accustomed to you.
- Don’t offer treats through the cage bars as this can provoke biting of fingers in the future.
- Offer treats near your hand with the cage door open and wait for the degu to approach you.
- Once your degu is taking treats from close to your hand, place the treat on your hand.
- When the degu is standing on your hand to take the treat, work up to scooping up your degu for gentle handling. Keep them cupped in one hand with another over their back to prevent them jumping.
- Ensure there is a soft surface underneath in case they fall
- Let your degu explore your arms and legs while you are sitting down. You can offer treats at this time too to create positive associations.
- It can take two weeks to two months before you have succeeded in taming your degu.
- If you rush things or your degu is startled, they may show signs of stress or may bite. Go back to an early stage of the process and slowly build up again.
- Your pet will soon become accustomed to being handled appropriately.