Behavior

Degus are diurnal, whereas most species appear to be nocturnal. Studies of activity patterns of coruros appear contradictory. Reig's field observations in 1970 indicated that coruros were active during the day, whereas Begall and others in 2002 observed nocturnal activity patterns in captive coruros. Several species are social, forming colonies occupying a communal burrow system. According to Fulk in 1976, colonies of degus usually consist of two to four adult males and females that share a common burrow system. Individuals within a colony defend territory and display a wide array of social activities related to social grooming, play, and courtship. Coruros also form colonies that occupy a mutual burrow system. Begall and others in 1999 observed one colony containing 26 individuals, whereas Torres-Mura and Contreras in 1998 indicated that the typical colony consisted of either one or more pairs of adults and their young. The colonial species display a diverse repertoire of vocalizations associated with alarm calls and other social interactions. Although little is known about them, rock rats appear to be colonial, while the remaining species are solitary. Both the degu and the chozchoz, representing the genus Octodontomys, take dust baths.

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