Degus do not thrive alone, they should never be kept alone. Imagine you being locked in prison, getting your meals daily and getting the bare minimum of your requirements to live, but having inmates to share that time with...now imagine being put into solitary confinement. There's a reason why solitary confinement is a punishment in prison, and that's because it's mentally draining on the prisoner.
A lone degu will probably:
- Be depressed
- Crave attention from you almost all the time
- Neglect their hygiene (not by choice...grooming is a natural trait of degus and they groom each other...a lone degu can't reach all parts of their own body)
- Die before their time (based on a number of factors, health being the most likely)
Some degu behaviours that REQUIRE at least two degus:
- Dominance (which is also a form of structure)
- Keeping warm in their house (they share body heat)
- Companionship (just BEING there is enough for companionship, the noise of another degu is enough for most)
Keeping a degu alone will deprive them of these important factors of their NATURAL lifestyle!
If you bought two degus and one died, please consider getting another companion for them...the introduction process can be lengthy but it REALLY is worth it to keep your degu happy. It is acceptable to allow for a mourning period before bringing in his companion's replacement, of course...this is encouraged, so your surviving degu gets over his loss and starts to accept it and move on.
If you bought one degu, the person you bought it from is probably an idiot. Any REPUTABLE degu seller will tell you that degus should be kept in pairs or better. Please point them to this page so they can see they're an idiot and they can learn for next time.
You have done nothing wrong by keeping the degu on their own, ignorance is a good enough excuse, but now you know the facts you have no excuse...please reconsider.
COMING SOON: Lots of YouTube videos to help prove to you that solitary confinement is the wrong way to go with your degu.
Now, time for the exception that proves the rule...SOMETIMES a degu needs to be kept alone, these have usually already been kept alone by previous owners and are beyond introduction to new companions, they might have an illness that is best kept away from other degus or they might just be anti-social social animals and prefer attention from their owners. If yours fits into any of these categories, and you've tried your best, perhaps a solitary life is good for them and ignore most of what's said above. If it's not an illness, you could still consider supervised playdates with people who live nearby and who also have degus, so at least they get some same-species interaction and maybe there'll be hope for them in future.