When it’s a Degu of course.
On a recent trip to Longleat (I’d highly recommend it by the way) these creatures were to be found in Pets Corner. One little family happily snuggled together long enough for this cute picture to be taken.
How unfortunate it is then for these lovely creatures that they can be easily mistaken for a common pest such as the brown rat. It is a striking resemblance – certainly from afar or at speed – but if you look closer you can see differences.
Now I am certainly not suggesting that next time you spot what you think is a rat running across your kitchen floor that you take the time to get up close and personal to confirm it really is a rat. Besides, the Degu is a native rodent to Chile, and hardly likely to be found in a home in the home counties. But they are becoming more and more popular as pets so one or two could make frantic bids for freedom if their cages are ever left open for that split second to colonise in the wild. Much like the green parakeets of Berkshire, which according to urban legend escaped from a container at Heathrow and are now seen all over the country. (Read more pest urban myths and unbelieveable truths here.)
Saying all of this, if I were to see something brown and furry dart across my living room floor, I won’t be reaching for my Degu picture, I will obviously be calling in Rentokil to get rid of the nuisance rat.
Interesting thought for the day: one man’s pest could be another man’s pet (or even dinner!!).