Degu (Octodon degus)

Pets with diabetes troubles

Degus occur in arid regions with sparse vegetation subsisting on meagre food. When fed sugar-rich feeds such as fruits, they easily develop diabetes. Therefore, they are used as model organisms in medical research. Nowadays, the diurnal and social rodents are popular pets. In their native range Chile, degus are mostly considered a plague, as they cause agricultural damage. They dig deep burrows in the fields and feed on seeds and vegetation.

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Category: Mammal

Size: Head-torso 12-20 cm; Tail 10-16 cm

Age: 5 years

Sexually mature: ♀ with 6 weeks; ♂ with 3 month

gestation period: 87-93 days

food: Grasses, herbs, leaves, seeds, bark, tubers

habitat: Grass, bush and rocky landscapes, up to 1200 meters high

Danger: not threatened

distribution: Northern half of Chile, on the western slopes of the Andes up to about 1200 m altitude

distribution area