Providing toys for your pet Degus is essential to keep your pets occupied, as tied up in a cage for most their lives there needs to be some entertainment! The most important thing to think about when buying toys is that they are for your pets benefit, not yours, i.e. they may have pretty colors and have fancy bridges and swings, but is your pet going to use them, or indeed are they usable?
Degus also need plenty of exercise, usually in the form of an exercise wheel or ball to run around a room. This is essential to keep your pets fit and healthy, and usually the bigger, the better, to provide plenty of flat running surface for your pets to enjoy. Wheels have to be solid, with no gaps, to prevent injury.
Degus certainly love to climb. Aside from a wheel and gnawing blocks, this will provide most of the entertainment in their cage. Degus are natural explorers, so providing areas at different heights to others will give endless entertainment, as well as providing space for your pets to hide from each other when fighting or protecting treats. It can also be used to hide treats for your Degus to find around the cage.
My animals like to use them as extra steps as opposed to using the ramp, preferring to jump from one level of the cage to another using the toys in-between. A cage must have opportunities to climb.
If you look at the picture of my cage on the earlier page, you will see I have replaced most of the metal with items like these, and not only does it look better, but more importantly, my Degus love it instead of the grated metal on their feet.
All Degus should have an exercise wheel in their cage. It will provide the most of your Degu exercise during its life. If your Degus are seen fighting over who gets to use it, buy two. Most are cheap, attach easily to the side of your cage, or use a stand and sit on your cages floor.
The wheel should be solid rather than a metal wired one, so your Degus do not hurt their feet or fall through and break their legs, and, if affordable, a silent wheel will pay for itself in the extra sleep at night. It needs to be at least 10″ in diameter for your pet to run comfortably.
I use a Giant Silent Spinner in my cage, as it allows my pets to run side by side stopping any arguing, and is quieter than most I have used before. It is easily attached and unattached to the side of the cage using a built in screw device. The spinner is thick plastic, so after a while, my Degus realized biting at it was getting them nowhere and so stopped using it. It is thick enough for both of them to run on it at the same time without any safety concerns.
This Pet Supermarket silent spinner is perfect for your cage. The picture is of the small size, but you will need the 12″ size (white and purple) which attaches securely to the side of the cage and can be removed easily for those sleepless nights.
As an example of the wrong type of wheel, I found this video on YouTube showing Degus in a pet shop on the bad wheel and so hurting themselves. Somehow the sad person recording it found it funny
Exercise balls provide your Degus with a safe way to explore with a reduced risk of escape. Even the most tamed of Degus can make a break for freedom at any time, so keeping them in a giant plastic ball, letting them explore without being able to escape into small holes and gaps, is highly favorable. They also provide much exercise, and somewhere for your Degus to go while cleaning out the cage to keep them occupied.
Be wary with plastic wheels that your Degu cannot bite through the tabs keeping them closed in minutes, so keep a close eye and listen out for any nibbling. Maybe some extra protection like cello tape would be needed to keep the ball’s swivel door closed. Unfortunately, until an alternative is created (don’t think metal balls would work somehow) this is the best Degu ball there is to offer. In a perfect world your pet should be trained and allowed to explore an open space unrestricted, but exercise balls are the next best option.
This range of roller balls at Pet Supermarket includes a Giant 32cm Ball, perfect for your Degu.
Homemade Degu Toys
Degus love to play about, and by using items around the house, you can make toys that will keep them occupied and stimulated, often better than shop bought ones. A little creativity can make you some brilliant toys and keep your pets happy.
- Garden Wire
Using regular garden wire, you can twist into whatever shape you want, whether it be a ball, cube or something abstract, hang from part of your cage and fill with dandelion leaves and pumpkin seeds and watch your pets enjoy! Alternatively get a treat holder ball designed for hamsters or other small pets that release treats when rolled around, just be wary of when it starts being nibbled.
- Kiln Dried Pine
- Screws and Wing nuts
Ledges provide places to sit, steps from one platform to another and exercise. Using some kiln dried pine, ensuring it is unvarnished, is not chemically treated and free from any chemicals, drill holes into two edges and attach to the sides of your cage for a secure stage for your pets.
Egg Carton Treat hunting
- Old egg carton
Take an old egg carton, place treats into the holes and then fill up with bedding. Seal closed by wrapping a wire around (we discourage using cello tape due to the glue) and watch your pets tear it open to get to the treats inside!
Cardboard tube hide-a-way
- Toilet role tubes
Using old toilet roll tubes or any cardboard tubing, shape into a circle (3-5 work well) and seal up, filling with hay. Hang from bars with wire and watch your pets break in to grab all the hay out, as well as some hiding inside afterward.
- a large metal or glass container
Using a large metal container take off the lid ensuring there are no sharp edges and fill with sawdust and treats, and watch your pet dig around to find the treats. Caution, it will get messy!
- An old fish tank or alternative glass container
Fill an old fish tank with soil, packed in but not too tight and place in the corner of the cage, then watch your pet mimic their natural behaviors and build tunnels inside.
- A small hanging basket made of wire
Get a small hanging basket, fill with hay to provide some comfort from the bars and your pets will sit inside, swing and use as a lookout point.
Drain pipe hide-a-ways
- unused drain piping
Use some spare drain pipe to give your pets tunnels to hide and play, or hang it from your cage roof to provide shelter from each other.
Do you have any ideas for Degu toys? Please leave a comment with your suggestions!