Degu (pronounced ‘DAY-goo’)? What in the world is a degu? Most people have never heard of these pint-sized rodents that are native to the grassy slopes of the Andes Mountains, in South America. Chinchillas and guinea pigs are close relatives of the degu. Now, along with chinchillas and guinea pigs, a degu has joined our Cheyenne Mountain Zoo family!
Meet Diego! He’s a 3-month-old common degu and the newest resident of The Loft. Part of Diego’s new role as an animal ambassador is to help educate guests to do research before bringing a new pet into your life. It’s important to learn about diets, habitats and enrichment needs of a new pet, along with any local species regulations. Several states restrict having certain species as pets. Degus are not legal as household pets in Colorado, but they are in other states. Colorado has these rules in place to help protect our beautiful ecosystems, because some species, like degus, could quickly become an invasive species that could disrupt the natural balance.
Next time you visit the Loft, be sure to look out for Diego! He is very curious and can be heard making quiet chirps as he explores his home, so listen closely as you approach him. Diego is already training to do encounters like ZOOMobile, Meet-and-Greets, and other EdVenture programs. To find out more about these programs and all the other animals that you could connect with, visit cmzoo.org/animals.