I ventured on over to the reptile/rodent/bunny/bird section of our local pet store, and came across a furry little rodent, that was mesmerizing to watch. Although I could never admit to enjoying a rodent (aren't they considered pests?), this one was had my attention for a while.
It some ways, it was like a little fluffy stuffed animal, that you just want to hold in your hand. They were lively and friendly. A little research reveals more about this little pet:
Degus are very social animals and can become very tame if handled from an early age. However, they do best if kept with other degus because of their social nature. They are playful and curious. Without social interaction and opportunity for exercise, they can be aggressive and neurotic. Degus are diurnal (active during the day). In the wild they live in communities (much like prairie dogs) and dig an elaborate system of burrows to live in.
Degus need a large cage. For a couple of degus a minimum of 24 inches by 18 inches by 24 inches tall is about the minimum size. Larger is definitely better and large multilevel cages such as those made for ferrets or chinchillas are ideal. The cage should be made of wire since degus are avid chewers. However, the cage must have a solid (not wire) floor and shelves and ledges should also be made of a solid surface since degus are prone to foot problems.
As with other small animals, avoid cedar or pine shavings. Provide an absorbent layer of pet-safe bedding in the bottom of the cage.
Another interesting care fact of these pets: degus need regular dust baths to keep their skin and coat in good condition. Provide a shallow bowl with an inch or two of chinchilla bath dust (sand) a couple of times a week (leave in the cage for a half hour or so).
The basis of a good degu diet is a combination of high quality chinchilla or guinea pig pellets, and rodent blocks. Grass hay (such as timothy hay) should be available all the times. A variety of fresh vegetables can be given, especially sweet potato (peeled, uncooked), carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, green beans, and dandelion leaves (must be pesticide-free). These should be offered in small quantities only or they may cause diarrhea. Vegetables that are members of the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale) should be fed only in very small quantities and some degu experts advise avoiding them altogether.
So, if you're looking for an interesting new pet, check out the degu!