Degus need exercise wheels in order to run, stay healthy and keep occupied. The best wheel will be solid, for a more comfy running base and no chance of limbs being trapped and broken, and will be wide to stop unnecessary stress on the back. At the moment the only options on the market are plastic ones which are easily prone to destruction, and custom built metal ones outside the price range of the average Degu owner. In the following guide we will show you have to make one for around £3 and a bit of D.I.Y. know how.
What you will need:
- An old/new round tin of around 12" diameternotethe type you get your chocies in at Christmas, or pop down your local pound shop and the normally have some with cheap biscuits in
- A 'Lazy Susan' Turntable bearing (a few £'s online)
- A marker pen
- A 12" or more ruler
- A drill, depending on how thick your tin is
- 4 nuts and boltsnoteto fix the bearing to the tin, they need to be small enough to not stop the bearing from moving by touching the outside plate, and have a dome nut or something similar to help prevent hurting your Degu if they decide chew
- 4 bolts and wing nuts noteto fasten to the inside of the cage, we always choose wing nuts for a secure fit and easy movement for those sleepless nights, although you can use anything to keep it in place like garden wire or clips
- Elbow grease
01 Ensuring your tin is clean, turn it over and find the centre. Some tins normally have a mark or raised bit where the centre is, if your doesn't, use the pen and ruler to draw 2 lines from one end to the other to indicate the centre point. Use as many lines as you need, as it is vital the centre is used in order to provide a correctly turning wheel.
02 Using 2 lines as a guide, place the bottom plate of the bearing in the centre of the tin, and mark where the 4 holes in the bearing are for drilling.
03 Using a drill, drill a hole the same width as the turntable holes, to ensure a tight fit. On some tins we have used, the metal has been thin enough to puncture with a compass, but this is strongly unadvised.
04 Attach your bearing to the tin, ensuring a tight fit without stopping the turntables from moving. Use the least obtrusive part on the inside of the wheel to help protect your pet from harm.
05 Attach the other turntable plate to the inside of your cage, using whatever method you see fit, we use wing nuts for a secure placement with easy moving.
06 Watch your Degus enjoy their new wheel!
This guide to making a metal Degu wheel has been featured on a few websites, and is used to give you an option for your pets when a custom made/ expensive one is not an option. We can find no evidence of its original design and no legal registration apart from on the degutopia site where it is claimed to be copyrighted to João Reis. Degu World's owners has been using a similar design since before 2010 (the copyright date) and provides this 'model' as its perceived original purpose, to help those in need of it.