I'm Drakul, from Italy, and I've got three Degus, 2 males (one of three months and the other of one year) and 1 female (one year).
I really love my lil guys but I'd like my girlfriend to love them too, so I need your help to find a solution to my problem.
They're getting nocturnal and their noise during the night is quite stressing and I'm forced to move them every night from the living room to the kitchen in order to be able to close the door and finally sleep.
Hi Drakul, welcome to the forum. Degus are normally day active but their body clocks are remarkably flexible. I have the impression from my two, which are the same age as your little one, that young degus may have shorter activity/rest cycles which is observed for many mammalian species. This may explain why they have changes their behaviour. Can you make your living room completely dark? If possible, I would try that first, if only for a few days to see what effect it has.
Thanks for welcoming me. Well, the point is that younger one has been with his brother (who unfortunately died a month ago) and they two had normal activity rest cycles, active during the day, sleeping at night. The problem is that now I've received two adult degus which are kept temporarily separated from the younger one and which are more nocturnal than my "original" one. Living room is dark during the evening, since we (me and my girlfriend) usually watch tv without lights on and with a very low volume, but nothing changed.
The light from the TV is enough for them to be active. Mine usually have a hyper-active period late in the evening and that is very noisy (sometimes too much for my liking). Can I ask when you find their noise stressing – when you are in your living room and/or when you go to sleep? If it is only the latter, complete darkness should help would be the easiest way to address the problem.
Exactly in the second moment when I go to sleep.. while we watch at the tv they're not stressing since noise is not so loud, but during the night, is quite annoying hearing them biting at the cage, biting the wood in the cage, running and jumping around.. and there's obviously no light on..
Animals synchronise their daily activity/rest cycles to their environment. Normally this is the light/dark cycle but degus synchronise to some extent to their owners. I am wondering whether your two new ones have been under a different scheme with their previous owner and can be induced to shift to a daily pattern that suits you better. Maybe you could for a few days provide them with a strong light/dark cycle. I would keep the light on in the living room for most of the evening, followed by an hour at your usual TV level (their dusk) and then complete darkness (even shutting out light that may come from street lights outside etc.).
Actually, it could be that they've been used to another "longer" daylight time, since the guy before was a 18 years old guy which was getting to bed really late and so they could get used to his timetable..
So, basically speaking, keeping always the same timetable of mine, they should get used to my habits and change their cycles accordingly?
How about keep them in the kitchen? Is that not an option?
Louie the dog,
Joe the degu,
Rio the degu,
Bumble the guinea pig,
Rolo the guinea pig,
Daisy the guinea pig,
Honey the guinea pig,
Tilly the guinea pig,
Eris the guinea pig
Titch the russian dwarf,
Consuela the russian dwarf.
I have too many animals, and also looking for more!
RIP Olly, my beautiful boy
Welcome to the forum, Drakul! I think they will definitely adapt to your schedule, but following Fred's recommendations will help to impact them with greater persuasion, and hopefully speed the process up. Even placing a table lamp right beside their cage and having it on will create the brighter light that Fred suggests. They need to become dramatically aware of the change from light to dusk, to dark. That will help their bodies to start making the adjustment. I also think that if you can turn that light on in the morning as soon as you have risen will help. Another of our members has recommended that covering the cage with a dark cloth that will basically shroud them in darkness, helps with their adjustments to schedule, so this is another option you may consider using in conjunction to the bright light.
Once again, welcome to the forum!!
1 Bichon/Shi-t-zu Ollie (b'gollie), 1 Standard poodle, Indie
My degus were quite nocturnal for a while. After seeing how much they loved the heatpad when it was really cold, I started to give them the heatpad when I went to bed, so that they would go to sleep at the same time. They love it so much, they go and sleep on it straight away. You can get a Snugglesafe Heatpad from Zooplus, I think they deliver to all of Europe. Or you could try using a wheatbag, if you have those, but they won't stay hot for so long, or you can put some sort of brick or stone in a cool oven and wrap it in a towel. I've also read that it can help to take the wheel out at night.
Drakul, I am sure that when you search this forum for “strange” you will get quite a few hits
I have been working on biological rhythms for many years (never with degus or any other vertebrates!!), so besides wanting to help you I have to admit to a professional interest. There have been a lot of studies on degu activity rhythms and it seems relatively easy to shift them to nocturnal activity. Now I have learned in the past five weeks that degus don't necessarily need a reason for anything they are doing but let's assume there is one for their nocturnal activity in your living room. I am sure the situation can be resolved or at least significantly improved but it may take some time.
My general advice is: First, be patient - you will need to give everything you try at least a week before you can see whether it has an effect or not. Second, never try two things at the same time.
At the moment it seems that they have the “right” activity pattern in the kitchen. Why don't you let them in the kitchen for a week before you bring them back into your living room to see whether they are “cured”?
With the heat pad I think it could be an excellent idea or a very bad idea. Excellent if they understand it as a signal “let's go to bed”. Very bad if the signal is “time for the afternoon siesta”. In the wild they would associate the increased temperature with midday, not night. It may still be worth trying but this one in particular should not be combined with anything else.
I found when trying to introduce a "bedtime" that it was better to have a "breakfast time" and "teatime" everyday too. This when implemented with a daily run around really helped to get the little fellas to sleep at night. They were in my bedroom at the time, so this was quite important to me also.
Kat is absolutely right, such a schedule should be very helpful. Ideally this should be as regular as possible at the beginning. For example if you can have a “breakfast time” with them, have it at the same time every day for two weeks. By the end they really should run “like clockwork”.
Mine are awake from about 10-11am to about 2 in the morning because those are the times i am most active. Like others have said, even the TV light is enough to keep them awake. They seem to adopt the sleeping patterns of the owner over time.