February 5th, 2012

Ann Vole

critter update

nothing new except the baby degus are very fast and showing their individual personalities strong enough that I can recognize who they are even though 9 of them are identical in appearence (and two are grey for 11 babies in total). Two of the pregnant degus are getting noticably fatter then the other 3 so must be later in their gestation then the others. One girl weighs more then the chinchillas (don't have a scale handy to give exact numbers) but it looks comic at how wide she is but she still runs and climbs fast. To make sure the babies can reach the spouts of the water bottles, I put a heavy crock bowl upside-down under 3 of the spouts and put another close to the floor leaving only one spout at a nice height for adults. That one bottle at normal height was emptied and the other bottles with reduced height were all less then half used. Obviously the height I normally use is preferred by the adults. I do not bother with height for the chinchillas though because they seem to enjoy challenges in food and water locations so the hardest food or water spout to get is the first to be used up by the chinchillas. I am now fairly sure two chinchillas are pregnant and likely the second one to be noticable is likely just as far in the pregnacy but likely only has one fetus instead of 2 or 3 of the more obvious chinchilla
Ann Vole

degu vocalization research

I posted recently that I left comments on two blogs of researchers who were studying wild degus in Chile. One place on those blogs mentioned degu vocalizations as being part of the research but radio collars on some degus seemed to be a key activity of the feild reserchers. The following website shows these particular field researchers:
http://sites.google.com/site/hayeslabofbehavioralecology/our-company
note that the coruru (Spalacopus cyanus) mentioned on that page is a close relative of degus (same family: Octodontidae) but lives much like and looks like a large pocket gopher except that it lives in colonies. Some research students completed their own research as follows
Adrian Chesh - Ectoparasite burdens of social degus
Robbie Burger - The fitness costs of social parasitism in degus
Phebe Quan - Developing microsatellite primers for degus
From the following page, it seems the research was on finding out why some mother degus were not very healthy with suspections that social structure might be involved but it seems like instead it is an old-world flea central to the problem.
http://sites.google.com/site/hayeslabofbehavioralecology/services
Degutopia website includes an interesting research paper on degu vocalisations:
http://www.degutopia.co.uk/Long_2007.pdf
and a webpage that sumerizes:
http://www.degutopia.co.uk/degusound.htm