One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A ratlike rodent with a long silky coat, found in southern South America.
Genus Octodon, family Octodontidae: three species
- ‘Now the eight chipmunks and the two degus - a South American long tailed rodent that looks like a gerbil but is as big as a guinea pig - are being cared for by the RSPCA.’
- ‘To answer this question, scientists in Chile and Germany have been studying the color vision capabilities and environment of the South American degu, a relative of the guinea pig.’
- ‘It was wisest to walk through the village on foot, for the zootlehoppers, like the degus and other animals of the town, would refuse to approach Savadini's cottage.’
- ‘The animals are looked after by a network of volunteer fosterers across Swindon, and currently include rabbits, dogs, cats and degus a type of rat-like rodent.’
- ‘More recently they have featured in the paper appealing for homes for animals ranging from an iguana to 48 degus - small brown rodents that look like a cross between a rat and a gerbil.’
Mid 19th century: from American Spanish, from deuñ in an indigenous South American language.
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