Animal rescue centres were overwhelmed after 298 degus were taken from one property in London by the RSPCA.
The animal charity worked with the degus’ owners to safely remove them from their London property when they were no longer able to look after them.
Degus are large rodents native to Chile who enjoy burrowing and live together in small colonies.
They are sociable, active and vocal pets, with the RSPCA recommending they live in small groups.
London RSPCA Chief Inspector Imara O’Niocail said: “When we were asked to help, I must admit I didn’t quite expect to be dealing with so many degus!”
Animal Rescue and Care in Twickenham have taken 29 degus, with the burden being spread across multiple animal rescue centres in London and the surrounding areas, including ten RSPCA centres.
Cat Davies of Animal Rescue and Care said: “On a day to day basis I never know what’s going to come through the door, breeding situations can get out of control.”
Degus have a gestation period of 90 days and many of the rescued degus were pregnant.
Sophie Langella, 49, Staines, decided to foster small rodents from Animal Rescue and Care after leaving a 16-year-long violent relationship.
Langella works as a dog walker in Teddington and started fostering from Animal Rescue and Care over a year ago, recently taking on 12 of the degus.
Langella said: “They came to me when they were really greasy.
“I don’t think they’d ever really had a sandbox and didn’t really know what to do.
“One of them had a horrific sore on its back as well, a blood red sore.”
People in the degu community have been supporting those who took on the degus, with donations to foster homes and adoption centres from retailers such as Totally Degu.
Langella added: “They’re gorgeous animals, I can highly recommend them, their noises are wonderful.”
Degus have complex needs which need to be researched before they are bought impulsively.
Featured image credit: Sophie Langella