There are several accessories a degu will need in captivity to mentally stimulate it and keep it healthy. These include suspended bridges, ropes, platforms, branches, saucer disk, tunnels and chew toys.
In order to stay in good health condition, pet degus will need a running wheel. Degus will spend a lot of their time on the exercise wheel. In fact, your degu can cover 2.5-3 miles (4-5 km) per day on its exercise wheel.
The following are a few tidbits that will answer the typical questions you might have concerning a degu’s running wheel.
What Is The Best Exercise Wheel Size For Degus?
The common degu attains an adult length of 25-30 cm. It needs a bigger wheel than a hamster’s to accommodate its size without overstretching its body or overarching its back. The ideal exercise wheel size for a degu is at least 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter.
Its running surface width should be more than 10 cm (4 inches). Opt for a wheel with a solid surface rather than one with rungs or bars so that your pet’s feet do not get snagged in it.
Best Running Wheels for Degus
With the many brands of degu running wheels available, it is easy to get confused and pick the wrong one. Here are three of the best running wheels you should consider for your pet degu:
– Felix & Fido 15’’ Wheel
The spin safe wheel from Felix & Fido for chinchillas and other small animals features high quality metallic and wooden parts. There are no exposed wooden edges or plastic parts for a degu to chew on, making it among the safest options for your pet.
Furthermore, it rotates on a ball bearing system that makes its operation silent. All the mounting hardware for it is included by the manufacturer, meaning its disassembly and assembly is easy. The spin safe wheel measures 15 x 9 x 15 inches and weighs 7.55 pounds.
– Kaytee 12’’ Comfort Wheel
Its 2-way attachment clip and heavy-duty wire stand allow the wheel’s attachment to your degu’s cage if you do not want to use it as a free-standing wheel.
The Kaytee comfort wheel measures 2.25 x12.12 x 14 inches and weighs 1.32 pounds. Though inexpensive, it is somewhat noisy when in use.
– Kaytee 12’’ Silent Spinner Wheel
It has a high-quality solid plastic running surface and can either be used as a free-standing wheel or attached to your degu’s cage. The silent spinner wheel measures 7 x 12x 24 inches and weighs 1.8 pounds.
How to Choose a Running Wheel for Your Degu?
There are a few important considerations when choosing degu’s exercise wheel. Here are the most important ones:
When an exercise wheel is too small, your degu will contort its body when using it. This places it at a considerable risk of spinal injuries.
Though a larger wheel is better than a smaller one, getting one that perfectly suits your degu’s size is ideal. This is one with a 12-inch diameter. Too large an exercise wheel might take up a lot of valuable space in your pet’s cage.
– Noise Level
A noisy running wheel will prove uncomfortable for your household. Though silent degu running wheels are expensive, the price is worth it in the end.
While an exercise wheel will cost more than most of the accessories you get for your degu, it is a one-off cost. It would be best to settle for the most durable wheel to ensure you do not have to spend so much on another one within a short time.
Degus are generally clean pets. The exercise wheel you choose might nonetheless be a source of dirt and germs in your pet’s cage if it is not properly cleaned. Choose a wheel that is easy to clean to ensure the health of your degu.
Why Do Degus Run On An Exercise Wheel?
In captivity, as in the wild, degus are active and playful. They need as much stimulation as possible to keep them active and prevent obesity.
To mimic the running and activities of degus in the wild, your pet will use its exercise wheel. This way, it can feel as comfortable in its cage as it would in its natural habitat.
When Do Degus Run On The Exercise Wheel – During Day Or Night?
Degus are generally diurnal in captivity. As such, they will mostly use their exercise wheels during the day. However, they can change their sleeping habits and start running on the exercise wheel even at night.
Thankfully, if the use of the exercise wheel at night by your pet is an issue for you, consider removing it from the cage at night or placing the cage away from sleeping quarters. Alternatively, you can invest in a silent running wheel.
How Fast Can Degus Run?
According to experts, degus are the fourth fastest animals among rodents. This is probably because they have abrupt paws, flexible spines, and light builds. They can reach maximum speeds of 26 mph.
Ensuring your degu’s comfort should be one of your top priorities as a pet owner. With the above tidbits, you can now confidently choose a running wheel that your pet will love. It is advisable to keep a pair of pet degus since the animals are social and live in groups.
If your degus start fighting over the use of their exercise wheel, it is best to get two wheels. Thankfully, most of the running wheels are inexpensive and can attach to the side of a cage.
This means that even with two running wheels in your degu’s cage, you will still have enough space for the pet to move around and include other toys that are essential to your pet’s well-being.