The degu is native to central and northern Chile, where they live in large groups. In the wild they live in elaborate burrows amongst the rocks and brush of the West Andean slopes. The females raise their young in a communal group. To be healthy and happy, degus should be kept as pets in pairs or groups. As pets, they typically live 5-8 years.
Degus can become very tame if handled regularly and from an early age. They are playful and curious creatures and, like most rodents, love to chew everything. They thrive on social interaction and activity. Without regular social interaction and opportunities for exercise they can become aggressive and neurotic. A degu spends its days digging tunnels and burrowing, so it will need a large enclosure with adequate bedding that allows this activity.
While degus are relatively quiet critters, they do sometimes whistle or make quiet warbling sounds when they groom each other.