Degus are curious active rodents that love running and playing. They can be an absolute delight to watch when playing but can also offer some much-needed chance to exercise for their owners.
It is advisable to keep at least two degus so that the animals have a play partner and enough social stimulation to keep them tame.
Degus are natives of the arid areas of Chile, where they are exposed to a lot of branches that they can climb and jump from. Furthermore, animals are prey animals in their natural environments. Here, they hone their jumping and climbing skills to escape predators.
To help you understand the jumping and climbing of your degu and accommodate it appropriately in your pet’s cage, here are some guidelines to help you.
How High Can Degus Jump?
Degus can jump to heights as high as 5-6 feet. This is because they are very skittish and have learnt to jump from almost all heights to escape their predators in the wild. This explains why the minimum cage height for a degu is 24 inches.
This cage comfortably accommodates a degu’s jump and makes the rodent feel as comfortable as it would in its natural environment. Remember that degus have insatiable appetites for exploration and can be quite clumsy when doing so.
They will thus often jump from dizzying heights to explore an environment. Be careful with the things you place in a degu’s environment to protect your pet from injuries when it jumps.
What Surfaces Can Degus Climb?
In your degu’s cage, it is best to include thick cotton ropes, stable rock arrangements, and tree branches for your pet to climb. The cotton or wood used in these instances should have grooves and rough surfaces that offer some much-needed traction for the feet of a degu.
The tree branches you include in your degu’s cage should be chosen carefully. This is because some wood types are toxic for use in a degu’s cage since they can cause adverse health effects when the animal chews on them as it often will.
The safe wood options for climbing spots for your degu include Hawthorne, hazel, apple, kiln-dried pine, lime, and pear. This wood should be free of paint, pesticides, or chemical treatments. It should also be untreated and organic.
Can Degus Climb on Walls?
Yes, degus can climb on walls. However, the wall that your degu can successfully is determined by its material. Your pet can successfully scale a wall made of wood, stone, and wire mesh. This is because the wooden and stone walls have some grooves on which the degu can hold itself to and climb.
The wire mesh provides plenty of spaces into which a degu can fit its small paws and use to climb. If you want to discourage your pet degu from climbing the walls of its cage, consider getting a glass or plastic cage.
The sides of these cages are too smooth and slippery for the rodent to climb. Even so, a mischievous degu might opt to chew on the plastic and make an escape route. As such, cages made entirely out of plastic are not advisable.
Remember that degus also chew on wood. To this end, if you choose a wooden cage for your pet, reinforce it with aluminum sheets or wire mesh to prevent the animal’s escape.
Can Degus Climb on Trees?
Yes, degus can climb trees. In their natural habitats, degus primarily climb on small trees and shrubs. After all, these are the main vegetation types in arid lands. You can replicate the shrubs and small trees in the degu’s cage by including small pieces of wood with attached leaves.
Though this means your pet’s cage will mirror its natural environment and be as comfortable as possible for it, be careful with your choices of leaves and trees. Include only those that you are sure are not going to poison your pet.
Can Degus Jump From Counters?
Yes, degus can jump from counters. Remember that these are naturally explorative animals. When they climb a counter and see something that looks interesting to them on the floor below, degus will often jump to go check what it could be.
Even if the counter is too high, a curious degu will jump off it to explore. Thankfully, it is rare for a degu to be seriously hurt by a fall from heights.
Most animals will use a fall from very high counters to learn their limitations. You can consider soft carpeting the floors around your counters to cushion the degu’s fall.
Why do Degus Jump?
The primary reason why degus jump is to explore their surroundings. You can thus expect your pet to jump around a lot for the first few days when you bring it home.
Degus will also jump in captivity because of an instinct that they develop in their natural habitats to escape their predators or forage for food.
Other than the opportunities for jumping and climbing, your pet degu will need enough space to exercise. You can let out the rodent frequently so that it can get all the exercise it needs. The play area for the degu should be as large as possible.
In the wild, six degus occupy about 1.5 hectares (15000 square meters) of land. Experts recommend giving one pet degu about 1000 square meters in captivity for its play area so that it will play, run and jump as much as it would in the wild.
To maximize the exercise amount your degu gets so that you protect it from obesity and keep it adequately stimulated, enrich the play area. Enrichment involves the addition of an exercise wheel, branches, ropes, platforms, and toys that will support the degu’s activities.
Some pet owners also include exercise balls in a degu’s play area. Though these balls are beneficial for most small animals, they are not so beneficial for degus, so you can negate them. Moreover, most degus do not love exercise balls.