Why Do Degus Make Noise? Are They Noisy?

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One of the primary considerations when choosing a pet is the amount of noise you can expect from it. After all, few, if any, people would want to live with a very noisy pet as this would mean they cannot enjoy their home as much as they would wish.

Degus are among the popular options for pets nowadays and, like other animals, degus make some noise. They have a complex vocal repertory that they use to communicate different emotions to other degus and even to their owner.

There are different noises that your pet degu will make, below I will explain some of the most common sounds they produce:

Common Noises Degus Make

Degus can make as many as fifteen unique noises. The following are the four common ones you might hear when keeping one along with what they represent:

– Teeth Grinding

There exist two types of teeth grinding in degus; passive and agonistic. Agnostic teeth grinding is fast and often directed towards something offensive or scary. The sound is usually accompanied by an agnostic sound like a whine, lunge, or grunt.

Passive teeth grinding is slow and used only a few times in quick succession. The degu, in this case, is often in a relaxed state and the sound is sometimes accompanied by a yawn.

In this instance, the grinding of teeth is a natural response to a degu’s innate need to keep chewing on something so that its continually growing teeth are filed.

– Chirping and Squeaking

The chirp of a degu lasts for 0.04 seconds on average and is often used three times in succession. There are no outward characteristics associated with the sound, and it is usually directed towards a con-specific.

Its most likely function is to discourage the other animal from doing something. A squeak lasts for around 0.245 seconds and is usually preceded by whining, chirping, or groaning.

It is often used by juvenile and adult degus to signify pain, mostly when the animal is bitten during a fight. Squeaking can also be used by degus to notify other animals or a pet owner of a threat.

– Talking and Chattering

A chatter is a soft repetitive sound that is high pitched and lasts for about 0.03 seconds. In general, a degu will chatter about four times in quick succession. While there is no specific outward behavior associated with chatter, the sound in most degus is associated with grooming behavior and nose-nose contact with another animal.

The sound is often used to foster social bonding among degus and as a greeting. As such, most pet owners will interpret chattering among degus as “talking”. The sound can also be heard when degus are playing to show satisfaction.

– Screaming

The screaming of degus is often preceded by squealing. Screaming from your degu’s cage is often high-pitched and involves several degus when one of them squeals to notify the others of a lurking threat.

If you hear a scream from your degu’s cage, it is best to check it out and ensure everything is ok.

Here is a video of few degus making some strange, creepy, screaming sounds:

Are Degus Noisy Pets?

No, degus are not overly noisy pets. Compared to other pet rodents, the animals are relatively quiet. Moreover, they are diurnal, and hence you can sleep soundly with them in the same room.

If you are looking for a quiet pet rodent, a degu might be your best choice.

How to Make Your Degus Quiet?

As prey animals, degus will be naturally jumpy, and this might be the cause of their noise. Moreover, the sounds they make are forms of communication, so you cannot expect them to be completely quiet. To make your pet settle down and stay quiet, here are some steps you can take:

  • Give a new pet degu enough time to settle into its cage and become familiar with the surroundings. It is best to stick to a routine to ensure the degu settles in and is comfortable.
  • Spend time with the degu so that it does not view human interaction as a threat.
  • Provide chew toys to bite on and keep the teeth filed instead of engaging in teeth grinding.
  • Consider placing a degu’s cage far from living quarters. At times, degus will keep quiet when they cannot see you and become tempted to make sounds to catch your attention.
  • Train your degu to be quiet by giving it treats and other positive reinforcement when it stays quiet. You can also teach it other ways of catching your attention.
  • When only one degu is noisy, it often causes the others in your cage to become noisy as well. You can consider housing the noisy degu in a separate place and training it to be quiet before re-introducing it to the main cage.

Do Degus Make Noise When Dying?

No, most degus will not make any noise when dying. They often just slow down significantly and stop eating. Though it is a heart-wrenching experience for any pet owner, you can take comfort in the fact that your degu will die quietly.

Even so, your degu might scream while dying if it has been attacked since this is its call for help.

Why Does my Degu Squeak Non-Stop?

Squeaking in degus is meant to alert other degus and pet owners of danger. It also happens when degus fight. In most cases, this squeaking will stop when the threat is removed or neutralized or when the fight ends.

However, in a few animals, the squeaking will continue for some time since they take time to calm down and notice they are no longer in danger.

Conclusion

Pet degus can prove to be the best choices when you know how to interpret the sounds they make and appropriately. In fact, they are among the perfect pet rodents for those who live in apartments and places where noise will be a major issue.

Remember that a degu’s vocalization is within the human hearing range. This means that the animal can hear you as well as you can hear it. You thus can also use the sounds your degu makes to communicate and connect with it.

Degus - Updated: November 16, 2020

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