Writer, zoologist and gundog enthusiast, Pippa blogs on life in the countryside

The Degu that wasn’t..

Life in the pest control industry is never boring.  Each week brings gives us something new or interesting to chat and often laugh about. degu

The customers and their behaviour are sometimes more fascinating than the pests themselves,  but this week it was an unusual  animal that caught our interest. 

We were called out,  to deal with a colony of ‘Degus’  

If you are not familiar with the Degu, it is a charming creature that looks rather like a cross between a Chinchilla and a brown rat.

Now very often, when we are called out to deal with something unusual,  it turns out to be something else entirely.  The customer, having verified their theories via google,  frequently knows best and if they insist that their wasp is a hornet,  or that their mortar bees are wasps,  then there is usually no persuading them otherwise until you are actually on their premises.  (And sometimes not even then)

But on this occasion a zoologist had apparently verified the identification of the Degu colony that had taken over a significant part of a Surrey suburban garden.    Himself decided to go along personally and photograph this unusual scene.  The little creatures were apparently scampering here and there amongst the flower beds in broad daylight and with  no fear of any nearby human observers. 

I am as sorry to have to tell you , though perhaps not as sorry as our Surrey household were to hear it,  that on this occasion the Degus turned out to be a large and very cheeky colony of rats.

Ah well,  maybe next time.

2 Comments on “The Degu that wasn’t..”

  1. Dave says:


    If only they know where degus are native to; and how unlikely it is for an exotic to survive in the wild. Never knew Britain is a bastion just waiting for Chileans to invade.

    • There was an incident in the UK in 2002 when over 50 degus were ‘released’ in the North West of the UK. Needless to say most of them died, and the rest were picked up by the RSPCA and rehomed.

      I guess people naturally want to believe that they have something exotic in their back garden. And occasionally, they are right!

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