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Common Name: Degu Scientific Name: Octodon degus

LOWER RISK Degu Distribution: South America

Habitat: Grassland

Height: Approx. 30cm

Weight: Approx. 400g

Diet: Herbivorous

Degus are rodents. Their wild range consists of the South America country of Chile where they inhabit the Andes mountains. Its growing popularity as a pet species has taken it all over the world. Wild Degus are naturally a dark-brown colour with their underside being lighter brown. They have pale circles around their eyes. They can look quite odd as their back legs are longer than their front legs making them expert jumpers. Males are usually a bit larger than females. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 6 or 7 months, males a bit later. After mating the females will go through a gestation period (pregnancy) of 80 - 90 days. The females will then give birth to between 3 and 10 young which need care for about 6 weeks. Like many rodents they are quick breeders and females can have two sets of offspring per year. Degus are herbivores having a diet that consists mostly of grass with some other vegetation. In winter when there is not so much fresh vegetation about they will eat dry leaves. Like rabbits Degus live underground in a network of tunnels. There will be multiple entrances to these tunnels so that they can easily escape from predators.