DCSIMG

Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo

Search

Shop

Degu

Octodon degus

Description

The most common mammal of central Chile, degus look like large gerbils. They can be up to 5 inches long and weigh up to 10 ounces. Their fur is grayish brown, with lighter fur on the underside and a tail tipped with a black brush.

Home Range

Chile

Habitat

Coastal and mountain regions in burrows of rock crevices.

Diet

Tubers, roots, bark, cacti.

Reproduction

Four to eight young.

Social Structure

Lives in small groups. Males generally tolerate each other but sometimes fight to win females.

Fun Fact

Degus have an interesting way of escaping predators. If the tail is caught, a degu may spin until the skin comes loose.