Important Information


Topics of this subpage:

  • Differentiation between the sexes
  • Color genetics
  • Age limits
  • body weight
  • teeth
  • Fertility
  • Puberty
  • Conception age
  • cycle
  • Teats


  • Gestation period
  • Number of litters per year
  • Litter size
  • Stage of development
  • Suckling period
  • Separation from the mother
  • Proof of pregnancy
  • pregnancy
  • Weight information for the offspring
  • Coprophagia ( consumption of feces)

Gender Differentiation

Male (left) - female (right)
Male (left) - female (right)


In the male is about one centimeter between the journal and after , the skin between wearing a skin fold in the longitudinal direction . The skinfold is optimal to detect when one easily pushes the tail at the root to the rear , so that the skin stretches .

Degu males gender differentaion
Degu males gender differentaion


In the female urethra , the distance between pins and anus is very low , it is a few millimeters . On closer look , the vaginal opening under the urethra journaling can be seen , this is , however, tightly closed and opens only during the mating readiness.

Degu females gender differentaion
Degu females gender differentaion

male (3 weeks) *poorly held*
male (3 weeks) *poorly held*
male (3 weeks) *held rigth*
male (3 weeks) *held rigth*
female (3 weeks)
female (3 weeks)

color genetics

The Mendelian rules describe the inheritance process for traits whose expression is determined by only one gene. More on this under color genetics.



Babies: 0-7 weeks old

Teenagers: 7-58 weeks old

Adults: 59 weeks to 5 years

Senior: from 5 years


body weigth

Normal weight adult: 170 - 300 g, Ø230g

Pregnant female: 250 to 430g, Ø340g

Newborns: 10 - 16 g, Ø14g

6th month approx. 180 - 210g


Normal weight of my males approx. 220 - 250g

Normal weight of my females approx. 210 - 240g



20 teeth in total, of which on each side:

Upper jaw: 1I, 1P, 3M

Lower jaw: 1I, 1P, 3M

The incisors of the upper and lower jaw are 1: 2-3 in length to each other. The molars of the lower jaw are curved and tilted slightly towards the tongue, those of the upper jaw slightly towards the cheeks. In chinchillas and degus, the incisors should be dark yellow to orange-red in color. The teeth of all these animals also grow for a lifetime. Source veterinary practice Dr. Schindler

The incisors are used for nibbling and gnawing, while the molars are used to grind the food. 



Females: approx. 4,5 years, then decline in reproductive rate

Males: lifelong



Female: cycle begins at 12-16 weeks, with a body weight of approx. 200 g

Male: from around 3 months of age

For both sexes: at the earliest at 46 days, on average at 6 months (i.e. from 5-6 weeks of age, females can become pregnant in exceptional cases and mate males)


fertilization capable age

Fertile age of the female - minimum age

Approx. 6 months, with a body weight of approx. 205 g

Not older than 12 months with the first litter, so coverage with 9 months at the latest. Ossification of the pelvis, increased risk that the babies get stuck and the mother animal dies (not scientifically proven, assumption based on guinea pigs).



Castration of degus is possible in both females and males. Male degus do not change their behavior, ie the sexual drive and / or aggressions or dominance remain unchanged. The reason for this is that with degus, the testosterones / hormones are not only produced there due to the internal testicles.

According to my vet, castration must not be carried out before the age of 4 months or from 180g body weight at the earliest. After castration, the buck must remain separated from the females for 6-8 weeks, as it is still able to procreate during this period.

Detailed explanation under diseases & symptoms .


cycle of the female

The vagina opens every 20 to 30 days, stays open for 3 to 21 days.

Regular cycle duration of 20.5 +/- 0.5 days.



The female has four teats couples , a inguinales and three more lateral , which are arranged on a line between the rear and front legs .


gestation period

87-93 days  +/-  3 days,  Ø 90 days



In the wild: one litter in spring (September, end of the rainy season, large amount of food), two litters when there is enough food.

In captivity: a maximum of 4 litters, i.e. all year round, Ø2-3 litters. The young animals flee the nest.


litter size

1 - 10 babies, Ø 5 - 6 babies

The litter size in Degu varies depending on the age of the female and the number of previous litters. Sex ratio at birth is 100 females to 110 males.


development of the babies

Varying between :

Initially eyes closed and only sparse patches of hair .

At birth, your eyes open and fully hairy.


suckling period

about 4 weeks , at least 2 weeks

Weaning weight : about 60-80 g

Normal food after six to seven days , Ø 2-3 week


separation from the mother

With approx. 7 - 8 weeks / males with 7 weeks with normal development

Isolation after weaning can lead to serious behavioral disorders in degus, which later express themselves in the form of fear of conspecifics and difficult handling by humans.



The sonographic examinations of two pregnant degu females showed that a positive sonographic diagnosis could not be made even on day 20 of pregnancy with a low number of fetuses and pronounced sound extinction through the intestinal tract, although the formation of the amniotic cavity in degus around this period on day 12-14 Pregnancy takes place and therefore anechogenic areas in the uterus should also be able to be displayed sonographically. Therefore, follow-up examinations are absolutely necessary in the event of a negative result in order to safely exclude pregnancy in the degu.


From the 6th week of pregnancy onwards, no more sonographic pregnancy examinations should be carried out; the pregnancy may be terminated.


With the current state of knowledge, the sonographic proof of pregnancy in degu cannot be recommended for veterinary practice, on the one hand, because early pregnancy cannot be reliably detected and, on the other hand, the handling of pregnant degus may trigger an abortion.



Cautious handling of the animals in the last trimester of pregnancy and Note in this context to possible miscarriage.

Vergleich der Bäuche

 367g (left) on the day of litter (5 babies).

294g (middle) 10 days before the day of birth. On the day of birth 340g (7 babies).

265g (right) 9 days before the day of birth. On the day of birth 290g (4 babies).


On average, pregnant females gain up to 75.5g ± 7.3% above the



The nest / house should be moved to the lowest level. Impeller, water bowl and other sources of danger must not be on the lowest level. In the case of aviaries, care must be taken that the grids are not more than 1cm apart - otherwise attach an additional grid. The impeller must be relocated to one of the upper floors, if this is not possible, only put it back into the cage from the third week of life of the young animals.

Male offspring must be separated from the mother / sisters from the 7th week.

The father should have been separated before the birth, otherwise he will mate the female immediately.

Differentiation between the sexes: This is possible from the day of birth.


weights for the babies

The weights listed here are from my experience and may vary quite , as is a sub- Scheid at the litter size , size of the parent animal and age observed. Therefore, they should not be taken as a fixed reference point . Unique numbers I can not call because the weight of the baby is very different , depending on whether there are 3 or 8 babies in a litter .


Newborn ca. 10 - 16g

2. life week ca. 15 - 20g

between 2.-3. life week ca. 30 - 40g

3. life week ca. 35 - 45g

between 3.-4. life week ca. 35 - 45g

4. life week ca. 40 - 60g

between 4.-5. life week ca. 44 - 62g

5. life week ca. 65 - 75g

between 5.-6. life week ca. 75 - 88g

6. life week ca. 70 - 90g

between 6.-7. life week ca. 75 - 100g

7. life week ca. 100 - 120g

between 7.-8. life week ca. 115 - 125g

8. life week ca. 125 - 135g


6. month ca. 180 - 210g



date of birth
age litter size and proportions
weigth in gram
G 17.02.2015 5 weeks 5 days 4 Babys | big 80-83-83-85
  6 weeks 2 days   95-105
  7 weeks 5 days   116-126
H 25.02.2015 6 weeks 4 days 4 Babys | normal 75-84
  7 weeks 6 days   102-105
I 27.02.2015 4 weeks 2 days  7 Babys | 3 big, 3 normal, 1 small 26-39-44-46-47-53-59
  6 weeks 2 days   43-63-64-78-82-92-93
  7 weeks 3 days   75 / 90-95
J 15.03.2015 1 weeks 6 days 5 Babys | normal 14-15-15-16-18
  3 weeks 4 days   33-41
  4 weeks 1 day   39-42-43-45-46
K 26.03.2015 2 weeks 3 days 5 Babys | 2 big, 3 normal 34-37-38-39-40
  3 weeks 5 days   49-55
L 23.08.2015 4 days 3 Babys | big 17-18-19
  1 week   23-23-25
  3 weeks 4 days   52-53-56
  4 weeks 3 days   66-68-71
  7 week   112-114-115
M 22.09.2015 Newborn 3 Babys | 2 big, 1 normal 13-15-16
  1 day   15-17-18
  6 days   22-24-25
  2 weeks 5 days   35-38-41
  3 weeks   39-46-49
  3 weeks 4 days   51-55-58
N 12.10.2015 Newborn 1 Baby | big 15g
  6 days   25g
  2 weeks   32g
  3 weeks   45g



Special thanks to Adjet Makawey and his diploma thesis from 2011 "Observations on Caecotrophy or Coprophagy in Dwarf Hamsters, Degu and Chinchilla" from which the following information comes.


KENAGY et al. (1999) described the adaptation of degus to feed availability and digestion. If degus have free access to food for eleven hours during the day, but not for the rest of the day, they consume as much food as if they were fed ad libitum. The same applies if you can only eat 2.5 hours in the morning and 2.5 hours in the afternoon. KENAGY et al. (1999) observed the following difference with regard to feed intake times: those degus who had feed available for eleven hours a day only take back the feces that are produced at night. The excretions that are excreted during the day are not reabsorbed. Those degus, on the other hand, who received food in the morning and in the afternoon, saved the act of coprophagy for the noon, when there was no food available to them.The digestion of the feces during the periods when food is not available ensures a continuous supply into the digestive tract. This seems to represent an increase in the performance of the intestine. BROWN and DONNELLY (2004) also describe the degus' ability to use coprophagy especially when no food is available.

A special movement was observed in degus and chinchillas, which they use to pick up the feces directly from the anus. The idea that the feces that are picked up by this particular movement could be appendix feces, however, could not be confirmed by the laboratory results.

These observations do not entirely agree with the descriptions of BROWN and DONNELLY (2004). BROWN and DONNELLY (2004) describe that only rabbits take up the appendix directly from the anus and that other rodents take up the droppings from the bottom of the cage. KENAGY et al. (1999) show that there is a connection between the lack of feed and increased coprophagia in degus. In the observations made on cecotrophy and coprophagy, however, the animals had food continuously available. 

In summary, it can be stated that degus and chinchillas absorb their feces from the anus and practice coprophagia.


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