Geographical Range Central Chile
Habitat Grasslands, shrublands
Scientific Name Octodon degus
Conservation Status Common

These small active rodents live in the drier regions of central Chile. They burrow beneath the surface of the grasslands, where they construct an extensive system of underground tunnels. Degus are active during the day, when they feed on seeds and grasses. During winter, they’re known to store food in their burrows.

Degus are very social animals. They live in groups of two to 10 animals. Much of their day is spent playing, grooming each other, and ruffling each other’s fur -- behaviors that help strengthen the bond within the group. Even when they sleep, they lie close together. Females give birth to an average of five babies per litter. In captivity, males have been observed taking care of the young.

A degu colony works together to protect itself from predators. When one animal detects danger, it warns the rest of the group with a vocal alarm call. It might also beat its tail on the ground in its excitement. A degu can shed part of its tail if a predator grabs it. The loss of blood loss is minimal and the wound heals fast, but the tail doesn’t grow back