Common Degu

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Common Degu

Common DeguOriginal.jpg

Character Data
Also known as: Degu
Japanese Name: デグー
Romanised Name: Degū
First Featured in: Not Featured Yet
Animal Data
Scientific Name: Octodon degus
Distribution: Chile
Diet: Herbivore
Average Lifespan in the Wild: Unknown
Read More: Common Degu
Conservation Status: Status iucn3.1 LC.svg.png
Common Degu

The Common Degu is an type of Friend which first appeared in artwork with Fennec Fox, due to her anime voice actress owning one as a pet. Her Friend design was officially unveiled in the Nagasaki Biopark collaboration.

Appearance

The Friend has tan hair with striped dark grey markings. Her ears are an even darker grey with pink insides and tan fluff. She wears a green blouse with poofy sleeves and off-white cuffs. The blouse has off-white fluff with a bowtie on it. Her off-white cloves have dark grey tips on them. She has dark blue shorts with a belt, off-white stockings, and white shoes with pink soles. Her tail has the same colors as her unmarked hair and ears.

In Real Life

It is sometimes referred to as the brush-tailed rat, and is also called the common degu, to distinguish it from the other members of the genus Octodon. It has a body length of 25.0 to 31.0 cm and a weight of 170 to 400 g.

It has yellow-brown fur above and creamy-yellow below, with yellow around the eyes and a paler band around the neck. It has a long, thin tail with a tufted, black tip, dark sparsely furred ears, and pale grey toes. Its fifth toe is small with a nail, rather than a claw, on the fore feet. Its hind feet are bristled.

Common degus originate from the lowland areas of Chile where they live in large groups making their homes in rocks or brush. Degus are found in nearly every climate except the very high elevations. They are considered an agricultural pest in Chile, but are pets in North America and Europe.

Common degus are very social animals. They live in burrows, and, by digging communally, they are able to construct larger and more elaborate burrows than they could on their own. Degus digging together coordinate their activities, forming digging chains. When foraging, their ability to detect predators is increased in larger groups. When kept as pets, males should not be housed with other males, especially if a female is within sight, as they will fight.

Common degus need a lot of attention or they can become depressed, significantly shortening their life spans. They are very verbal and the squeaking sounds which comprises up to 15 different sounds. The sounds they communicate each other can be very entertaining. They are more intelligent than most rodents. It is advised to not pull on their tails as they will rip off and unlike lizards, it will not regrow; this was a defence mechanism for wild degus.

Common degus are diurnal, and they have good vision. It has been shown that degus are able to discriminate ultraviolet light from the wavelengths visible to humans; it is likely that this ultraviolet sensitivity has a social function, since both their ventral fur and their urine are highly UV reflective. They are intensely hyper sometimes and very tranquil at others. To some it may appear that they never sleep because they always seem to be on the go or ready to leap.

Common degus are strictly herbivorous, in the wild feeding on grasses and browsing the leaves of shrubs, though they will also take seeds. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of common degu physiology is their intolerance of dietary sugar. Common degus cannot metabolise simple sugar such as is found in fruit, and they will develop diabetes and cataracts if fed sugary fruits and vegetables. The traditional small animal food has corn and sunflower seeds, which can be anything from simply not good for them to outright bad for them because of the oil and in the case of the sunflower seeds, the fat as well.

In the wild, Degus can live up to 15 years, but in captivity they rarely become 9 years old with an average age of 5 years.

Trivia

  • The word 'degu' comes from the indigenous language of Chile, Mapudungun, and the word dewü, meaning 'mouse' or 'rat'.

References

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