Recycle and old pair of jeans and make a play tube to simulate a burrow for your critters. I have two degus and they love their jeans tube. I used to live with someone who had four ferrets and I know they would also have loved this tube. For ferrets you may need to make the tube bigger than I show and I'd recommend for ferrets lining the hardware mesh or chicken wire with a crinkley plastic bag - any ferret owner knows they they love the noise it makes when they crinkle a bag!
You will need:
- Hardware mesh / chicken wire
- Metal wire
- Clean old pair of jeans
- Strong needle and thread
- Paper clips, binder clips or mini spring clips
What is a Degu?
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Step 1: Cut Your Jeans
Cut off the legs of your old jeans. One leg will be the inside lining and the other will be the outer lining.
Degus are prone to a condition called 'bumble foot' so it's important that there's limited exposed mesh to irritate their feet.
Step 2: Cut Hardware Mesh & Make the Metal Mesh Tube
Cut your hardware mesh or chicken wire. You can use either - whichever is available to you.
When you cut the mesh use a good pair of tin snips or metal cutters - NOT SCISSORS. You can hurt yourself trying to cut metal with a pair of household scissors so please don't even try it!
Also - use the pants to measure the length and to ballpark the circumference of the tube. You can't make your mesh tube bigger than the pants can fit around and your jeans should be an inch or two longer on both ends of the tube so you can fold it over as seen in the next step. Use the natural curve of the mesh (because of the way it is purchased rolled up) to create the tube.
You can find both hardware mesh and chicken wire together near the fencing materials at your local Home Depot or Lowes. You can also get tin ships or metal cutters near the tool section. I use the hardware mesh because it's a tighter mesh than chicken wire and is still metal so they can't chew through it.
Fold over any raw edges towards where the mesh is to ensure neither you nor your animals are scratched or poked by the metal edge.
Use a single metal wire, cut into 4" pieces to tie off a couple spots on the tube to help hold it's shape. One every 6" will do, you may need someone to help you hold the tube while you tie off the first few. Just thread the metal wire through a hole on each edge and twist the wire. Weave or tuck the edges safely in the metal mesh.
Step 3: Jeans Inside and Outside
Now line the inside and outside of the mesh tube with your jean legs.
Your mesh tube should be a bit shorter than your jeans so that you have room to fold over the edges. This helps the tube to hold it's shape before you sew it together and helps make sure there are no exposed metal edges to injure anyone.
Start with the inside leg and make sure it isn't twisted. You may need some clips to hold the inner lining to the mesh while sliding the outside lining over. We used some strong paper clips.
Step 4: Sew the Edges
it. Idon't have to be an expert sewer but it's important to stitch up the edges to make sure the jeans don't slip and slide or get ripped off too easily by your critters! I used a super heavy duty thread and a fairly large needle. Not sure what size needle to use? Ask someone at your local craft store what size needle would be best for hand stitching through 3 layers of denim - and an appropriate thread to hold it.
I used a Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus thread. It's made for button crafts and is marked as "extra strong" strength.
Any stitch will work - you'll want the stitches fairly small so there's no easy way for your critter to pull it or notice it to chew it out.
Step 5: Insert Degu
Place the tube in their cage or leave it as a play toy for them when they can come out in your degu safe play area. We have degu proofed our living room and let them play out of their cage often so we can leave it there or put it as a ramp in their cage.
The best part is the mesh is so strong the tube becomes an awesome burrow/tunnel/ramp for the play in and on.
Note: Your degus will destroy this in time. They destroy every non-metal item after a long enough time. When they chew holes big enough to expose the metal or when the jeans start to smell (from their oils rubbing off and being absorbed) toss out the whole tube. It takes less than 30 minutes to make it so if it only lasts a couple months that's okay!
Don't forget to visit Rascal and I on our website: degucage.com