At this point, you’ve prepared yourself for the arrival of a degu and you’re probably eager to get your own little pocket pet. It’s really important to buy a healthy degu so in this part of the guide you’ll be learning how you should choose a degu, what the average price is of degus and where you can buy degus.
Important Factors to Consider
Life is full of choices and buying a degu is one of the more important ones you can make. You’re taking care of an animal and its life is in your hands. There are a lot of different factors to consider when buying a degu. You’ll need to make sure that your future pet is healthy but you also have to choose the number of degus you’ll get, their age and sex.
Your number one priority should be to get a healthy animal. If you don’t get a healthy degu you will end up with a lot of vet costs and might lose your degu not long after you bought it. Make sure to check the following health indicators:
- bright and open eyes: the eyes should be fully open and have no discharge. A healthy degu has bright and dark eyes with no white. The eyes should also contain no red spots as this can be a sign of developing a cataract.
- the feet should have no sores or open wounds: some degus that are kept in a cage with a wire mesh floor can get sores and wounds on their feet. This condition is also called bumblefoot.
- shiny and soft fur: degus need to take dust baths to keep their fur clean. If the fur doesn’t look healthy and is not soft the degus might not get dust baths.
- properly aligned and complete teeth: the teeth of a degu have a bright orange color and should be properly aligned. Check that there the teeth are not chipped and that there are no broken teeth.
- degus’ behavior: degus are curious and smart animals that love to play, jump and run around. If a degu is lethargic and not alert this is usually not a good sign. On the other hand, a constantly squeaking degu that tries to run away from you and hide can have stress.
One or more degus?
Degus are sociable animals and live in groups in the wild. In certain cases, you can keep a degu alone but in most situations, this is not a good idea. If you keep a degu as a solitary pet they will miss the company of other degus for daily stuff like snuggling and playing. A degu that’s kept as a solitary pet can get stressed and sick.
If you’re new to degus, I would recommend starting with at least two degus. If you have a bit more experience, time and can create enough living space for more degus you can get a small group. Be aware that small groups mean that there will be some fighting to establish dominance and hierarchy in the group.
Do you get a baby or adult degu?
Most people will want to get baby degus because they’re cute and easier to bond with. There’s nothing wrong with getting baby degus but you should at least make sure that your degus don’t need their mother anymore for nutrition or warmth.
The ideal age to get a baby degu is when they’ve recently weaned (switched to their adult diet). This weaning process usually happens between four and six weeks of age. To be sure that your degus are old enough to leave the nest, I would recommend getting a baby degu at six weeks or older.
Why would you choose a baby degu?
- baby degus are easy to handle and tame: older degus will usually have certain habits and will be used to their previous owners. They will have a harder time getting used to you and your home.
- baby degus will have a longer life ahead: when you get a baby or a young degu you’ll have your pets for several years since the life span of degus ranges from 5 to 8 years.
Although a lot of people will get a baby or young degu, you can also do a good deed and adopt an adult degu from a rescue center. Adult degus will need a little bit more time to adjust to their new surroundings but will still make great pets.
Getting a male or female?
Since you should get at least a pair of degus, you’ll have the choice between:
- getting a same-sex pair
- getting a male-female pair
If you don’t have any plans for breeding degus you should get a pair of degus that’s of the same sex. It doesn’t matter that much if you get a pair that’s male or female. There are no important differences between the two sexes in terms of affectionate behavior towards you. Male degus will sometimes fight each other to establish dominance but this won’t happen every day.
How Much Does a Degu Cost?
The cost of a degu isn’t determined by the price of your degu alone. There are a lot of different costs you’ll need to make and probably already made if you got this far. Luckily the price of a degu itself isn’t that high.
On average you can expect the price of a degu to range from $30 to $300 with most degus to cost around $40. The price will depend on a lot of factors like the age, the region and the season.
Where to Buy a Degu?
Degus are available in almost any place in the world. But they’re not that popular as other kinds of pocket pets. This means that you might have a hard time finding a seller and you might have to wait a long time before you can get your degus.
If you’re looking for a degu you can find them in one of the following places:
- pet stores
- private breeders
A little heads up, not all breeders are good people and some will put profit over the health of the degu. If you buy a degu it’s best to check online for reviews or more information. Always ask for enough information about the degu you want to buy. Last but not least, remember to look for signs that the degu is healthy and doesn’t suffer from injuries or health issues.
Pet stores or pet shops sell a lot of different animals. If you’re lucky you can also find degus in a pet store or they can try to order degus for you.
When you go to a pet store you can see the living conditions and look if they don’t live in terrible conditions in a small cage. It’s important to ask if you can handle the degus to see if they’re active and healthy.
One of the drawbacks of a pet store is that you won’t see the degus’ parents and can’t talk to the breeder directly. You might also encounter pet stores that lack the necessary knowledge about degus. You can test this by asking them enough questions.
Private breeders are probably the best way to buy degus. You can find these breeders by scanning the classifieds in your local newspaper, check out the “for sale” ads on buy-and-sell sites, check out forums specialized in degus, or join groups on Facebook to find degu breeders in your area.
A private breeder will be a perfect choice for you if you’re a noob and don’t know a lot about degus. You can arrange to visit and speak with the breeder and ask everything you want to know about the degu.
Rescues or shelters are often swamped with abandoned little degus. These little creatures are looking for loving and caring owners. Degus give birth to large litters of baby degus. Sometimes, degus are an impulse purchase. Parents buy them for their children or they’re given as a birthday or Christmas gift. In such cases, people often not prepared to care for them for such a long time. If you want to get degus I would definitely recommend checking the rescues in your neighborhood.
If you adopt a degu from a rescue you might have to fill in a form with all kinds of questions. These questions will determine if you’re able to take care of a degu. The last thing a rescue wants is to let a degu get adopted and to have to take them back after a while. This can cause a lot of stress for the degu.
Interested in buying from a rescue? Visit our degu adoption page with rescues and shelters that sometimes have degus.
Bring Your Degus Safely to Their New Home
If you’ve prepared for your degus, you have already set up the cage with the proper substrate and bedding. You’ve added some accessories in the cage and bought enough food to last for the first month. But you’ll also need to bring them home safely!
To transport your degus to their new home you’ll need a container or travel carrier. You can create your own carrier but it’s usually easier to buy a carrier online or in a store. A travel carrier will also be handy when you need to take your pets to the vet or when you need to clean the cage.
Make sure that the carrier is made of stainless steel. If the carrier – like most pet carriers – is made of plastic your degus will be able to chew through it. To prevent this you can give them chew toys to keep them busy. You should also try to limit the time you need to transport your degus so they don’t get a lot of stress from travel.
Now that you know where you can buy a degu and what to look for, you can continue to the next chapter in the guide: Degu Care.
Want to Learn More About Other Pets?
If you’re interested in learning more about other (pocket) pets, you should definitely read the following articles: