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Degus Appearance

Degu IsabelIt's very difficult to describe a degu. Often it is tried to compare the degu with other pets, like the chinchilla, rat, gerbil or even the squirrel. They look a bit like all of these rodents.

The colour of their fur is always brown/gray. The tips of the hairs are black. The belly has a lighter colour. The thickness of the fur depends on the environmental temperature. When it's cold the fur will be thicker compared to when its warm. Sometimes degus have one or more white spots in their fur, which is a sign of domestication.

Wild degus can have a length of 40 cm or longer (including their tail). If kept as pets they are much smaller, about 25 - 30 cm. The size of a degu is comparable with the size of a rat, however most times they will be even smaller. Living in captivity rodents usually grow bigger than in the wild, due to the better life circumstances. Degus form an exception to this rule, which probably has to do with in-breeding.

Also the degu's tail can be compared with a rat's tail, but there are a few differences. A rat's tail is naked, while a degu's tail is hairy and has a little floss at it's tip. A degu holds food like a squirrel does, and it holds up it's tail.The degu's tail is a bit shorter. Another important difference is how they use their tail. A rat's tail hangs down and always drags over the floor. The degu normally holds up it's tail and uses it to keep balance.

The degu's eyes are dark brown. Very striking are their teeth, which are coloured orange. The ears are much like chinchilla's ears, they are relatively big and formed like a shelf. The four legs each have five toes with pretty sharp nails. Degus use their front legs to pick up objects, and to hold food, like a squirrel does.

The distance between anus and sexual organ is bigger with male than with female degus. The above picture is a male, and the picture below is a female.It's difficult to see if a degu is male or female. There's only one way to see what sex a degu has. You have to look at the distance between the degu's anus and it's sexual organ. Female degus have a small distance between these two, and males have a relatively big distance. The sexual organ is a little protuberance with both males and females, although it's a bit bigger with fertile males.

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