Welcome to our comprehensive guide to finding the best degu cage!
Degus are an increasingly popular exotic pet. They’re cute, furry, sociable, and talkative – what’s not to like?
However, your degu does have very specific housing needs in order to remain happy and healthy. Our guide will enable you to find the best degu cage for your pets.
What is the best degu cage?
The best degu cage will be large, at least 25” x 15” across the base. It will have at least two further levels to provide additional space, and be made predominantly of well ventilated wire.
But how do you pick the right one?
First, we’re going to introduce the degu to those readers who may not be familiar with this charming little creature. And find out a bit more about his requirements.
Introducing the degu
The degu is a small rodent, measuring roughly 6 inches in length.
Degus are usually tweedy-brown in color with lighter gray-white fur on their feet, legs, and stomachs. Their fur is soft and silky, and they shed regularly when kept in warm environments.
The degu’s most distinctive feature is its teeth, which are bright orange or yellow in color in healthy animals. In fact, if your degu’s teeth turn white, this indicates a serious health problem.
Although recent evidence suggests that the degu may be closely related to the rabbit, facially it actually looks more like a cross between a gerbil and a squirrel or chinchilla.
Degus are long-lived for a rodent, often living for 15 years or even more in the wild.
Pet degus usually live to be 10 years of age. So, if you take on a degu as a pet, be ready for a long-term commitment!
The degu originates from the coastal and lowland regions of Chile in South America, where they are actually regarded as pests by farmers. Wild degus live in large family groups of 10 or more in underground burrows and tunnels.
It is thought that degus were first brought to the United States and Canada in the 1950s, where they have been kept as family pets ever since.
Degus are diurnal, meaning that they are awake and active during the daytime.
Degus are very sociable, curious little creatures that thrive on interaction with their human owners and especially with others of their species. For this reason, you should not keep one degu alone.
Degus kept on their own can become depressed, hostile, and aggressive. Solitary animals are also more prone to stress-related diseases.
Give your degu some company and he’ll be happier. He’ll live longer too!
You could keep a pair of degus or a small group. If keeping a number of degus, it’s best to have just one male or two from the same litter; unrelated male degus have a tendency to fight.
Female degus are less volatile and live happily in small same-sex groups.
Degus are quite vocal, making a variety of quiet “chatty” noises as they socialize and interact with each other. They always communicate as if they’re whispering, so you won’t be subjected to raucous squeaking all day long!
Best degu cage
When choosing the best degu cage, there are a number of important considerations to take into account.
The first thing you must know is that degus require plenty of space. Degus are lively, active critters who need lots of room to climb and play.
Remember that if you have several degus, you will need an extra-large degu cage to accommodate them – overcrowding can lead to squabbles and injuries.
Sometimes, cages sold online described as being specifically for degus are not actually big enough for their needs, so beware!
Degu cage accessories
Whatever accessories you choose for your degu cage, avoid anything made of plastic. Degus will quickly chew through and destroy them!
When considering your degu cage setup, you must include plenty of items for playing and climbing, to provide these intelligent animals with lots of mental and physical stimulation.
Cage exercise and mental stimulation for degus
Use apple, ash, oak, pear, and beech tree branches to furnish your degu cage. These are perfect for climbing, as well as replicating their natural habitat.
Just be careful that whatever you use hasn’t been treated with pesticide or any form of wood preservative that could be toxic to the degus.
Degus love to run! An exercise wheel is ideal for this and should measure at least 10 inches in diameter to be comfortably big enough.
Lengths of clay piping can be used to create a tunneling system in the cage, again mimicking their natural habits and adding enrichment to their environment.
If possible, provide your degus with an area of organic soil. Degus love to dig!
Cage eating and drinking accessories for degus
You will need two feeding dishes for your degus to prevent arguments over food.
In addition, you should provide a water bottle with a long metal sipping tube, placed at the front of the cage. Ideally, you should have one water bottle per level of the degu cage.
Degus can be prone to mouth disease, so you will need to change the water and clean the water bottle daily.
Cage bathing and dental care for degus
Like other rodents, a degu’s front incisor teeth are continually growing. Be sure to provide your degus with suitable gnawing blocks or toys so that they can wear down their teeth naturally.
Overgrown teeth can lead to health problems, as your degu won’t be able to eat properly.
Degus need a sand bath at least once a week in order to keep their coats clean and in good condition. A ceramic or metal bath filled to a depth of about 2 inches with chinchilla dust is ideal.
Do not use ordinary sand, as this will be too abrasive and could damage your pets’ fur.
Note that the sand bath should only be left in your degu’s cage for a maximum of 15 minutes per day, as excessive bathing can cause the animals’ fur to become brittle and thin. The degus will also use the sand as a litter box if you leave it in the cage for too long.
Cage nesting and sleeping items for degus
When choosing bedding for your degu cage, use aspen shavings or paper-based material. Don’t use cedar or pine chips, as these can cause respiratory problems.
Give your degus lots of timothy hay to nibble on, ideally in a hayrack to keep it off the floor where it could otherwise become soiled. Do not feed your degus alfalfa – this contains too much calcium.
Equip your degus’ cage with a nesting box or hut. This provides enrichment for the cage as it mimics the degu’s natural burrow environment. A nesting box also offers a shelter, warmth, and shade.
You may also like to equip your degu cage with shelves for climbing and sleeping.
Degu cage cleaning and hygiene
You will need to clean your degus’ cage out at least once a week, more often if they are especially messy. Use a pet-safe cleaner and pay close attention to “latrine” areas to prevent odors and bacteria.
Scrub the cage and wash the toys and food dishes on a monthly basis.
Degu cage size
So, what size cage will you need for your degus?
Basically, the more degus you intend to keep, the larger the degu cage you will need.
The minimum cage size for a pair of degus should measure at least 25” x 15” across the base, with at least two further levels to provide additional space.
Degu cage materials
The most popular material for degu cages is wire. Wire facilitates good cage ventilation, which is important, as degus can be prone to respiratory problems.
The cage base should be made of solid metal so that the degus do not sustain injuries to their feet or develop a condition called bumblefoot, or pododermatitis.
Wooden degu cages?
Do not choose a degu cage that is made from wood or plastic! Degus are habitual chewers and will ruin or even break out of a wooden or plastic cage in a matter of hours!
Glass degu cages?
A glass, aquarium type degu cage is really only suitable as a base. A glass degu cage may not provide adequate air circulation or climbing opportunities for your pets.
In addition, glass cages can become very hot very quickly during warm spells or if placed in direct sunlight. If your degus become too hot, they could suffer heat stroke and other related health problems.
Where to put your degu cage
Degus are pretty hardy creatures and can live outside if necessary, provided that your climate is not harsh. However, bearing in mind their country of origin, it is not surprising that degus actually prefer living in a warmer environment!
Be careful that you don’t place the degu cage in direct sunlight where it could become very hot or in a position where drafts could be caused by air conditioning units or open windows. Although your degus do need good fresh air circulation, they won’t appreciate a chilly breeze blowing through their home 24/7!
Best degu cages reviewed
So, now you are armed with some helpful background information on keeping degus, let’s move on to look at some degu cage ideas.
You can buy all these products online from Amazon.com, and we’ve provided convenient direct links to each item. Ordering couldn’t be easier!
Midwest Critter Nation with Stand. This spacious wire critter cage offers a great environment for your degus!
There’s bags of room for your degus to play and multi-levels for added interest. Non-slip ramps connect the levels, and there are several removable height adjustable shelves included.
Add-ons can also be purchased separately if you want to provide your pets with even more space.
The sturdy cage has full-width double doors and a removable plastic floor pan for easy access and cleaning. This high-quality, robust critter cage is mounted on lockable casters for ease of relocation as required.
Multiple attachment points for hammocks, shelves, toys, tubes, and other accessories are provided.
The cage measures 36”L x 25”W x 62.5”H and comes with a full, one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Midwest makes a range of critter cages of different sizes.
So, you could choose an even larger option if you have the space and the budget.
Prevue Hendryx Black Feisty Ferret Cage. This cage is actually designed for ferrets, but is plenty big enough to accommodate degus.
The cage contains ramps, shelves, and a hammock. There’s also plenty of room to attach other toys for your degus.
The cage doors are designed for easy owner access but are also latch-fastened and escape-proof.
You can remove the bottom tray, platforms, and grille for quick and easy cleaning. There’s a space saver shelf to hold extra treats and toys.
The cage can easily be moved around on casters.
This ideal degu habitat measures 31”L x 20”W x 41.5”H.
Homey Pet-3 or 1 Tiers Chinchilla Ferret Rabbit Small Animals Crate. The Homey Pet-3 is another cheap degu cage that would make a good starter cage for two degus.
The cage measures 26”L x 17”W x 38”H , making it smaller than other options, but still perfectly big enough to accommodate two degus.
The cage has a pull out bottom tray for easy cleaning and a separate plastic base and urine guard to protect your floors from soiling. Lockable casters make the cage stable yet portable.
Non-toxic powder coating has been used on the wire to prevent corrosion, despite being safe for your pets.
The best degu cage for your pets – A summary
Degus make great pets! They’re active, curious, and sociable with great personalities.
As an added bonus, degus are mainly active during the daytime, so you won’t miss out on the fun!
The best degu cage will make it easy for your pets to enjoy themselves, and stay happy and healthy.
However, as you have learned in this guide, a spacious, well-equipped cage is essential if your pets are to remain happy and healthy.
Why not tell us about your degus and your degu cage setup in the comments section below?
We’d love to know if you chose one of the cages we recommended!
References and further reading
- St Kitts Veterinary Group (2013). Degus – A rough guide to owning degus.
- Wissink-Argilaga, N. and Pellett (2014). Guide To Husbandry and Common Diseases In Degus and Skunks. Vet Times.
- Blue Cross for Pets. Caring For Your Degu.
- Castle Vets (2010). Degus.
- Lee, T.M. (2004). Octodon degus: A Diurnal, Social, and Long-lived Rodent. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research Journal, 45.