Chilean critter swaps the rainforest for Bilton

NADV 1408023AM1 Chris Bryant's degu. Chris Bryant and his daughter Eleanor (6) with the degu that he found.(1408023AM1)
NADV 1408023AM1 Chris Bryant's degu. Chris Bryant and his daughter Eleanor (6) with the degu that he found.(1408023AM1)

An animal more commonly found in the jungles of South America has been found on a residential street in Bilton.

Chris Bryant noticed a small creature scuttling across his driveway in Bilton last week and stopped to take a closer look.

NADV 1408023AM2 Chris Bryant's degu.(1408023AM2)

NADV 1408023AM2 Chris Bryant's degu.(1408023AM2)

“It looks a bit like a gerbil, it ran under the car but it was quite friendly and came back out and I managed to catch it and take it inside, it turns out it is a degu” he said.

The degu is native to Chile, but often kept as a pet. They are similar to a gerbil but around twice the size and are also known as brush-tailed rat.

Mr Bryant said: “I know a fair bit about animals and I was quite interested in animals when I was younger but I have never come across one before.

“It was hiding under the car so I made squeaky noises at it he come out to see if I had anything for him and I managed to catch it.

“We are trying to find its owner, we went out and bought food for it and it is in a cage, but someone somewhere could be missing him.”

Degu’s are very social creatures and like to live in groups and nest together.

Mr Bryant said: “They tend to be sold in pairs so it might be getting lonely.”

Mr Byrant’s children already have rabbits and a dog but he said they are now getting a little bit attached to the degu.

“My little girl, Eleanor, has grown quite attached to it, she has named him Tommy. He is quite friendly and cuddly.”

“It’s quite a sweet friendly little thing. It isn’t shy either, it must be used to be handled as a pet.

“We have looked it up online and bought special food and researched how much he can eat and how to care for it, but obviously if it has a home we would rather return him to it’s owner.”

Mr Bryant has asked around his neighbours but so far has had no luck finding Tommy’s home.

Tommy isn’t the only unusual animal to be spotted out and about in Bilton.

Peter the peacock regularly struts his stuff at poets corner and has gathered quite a fan base.

Although no-one knows where he came from but over the years Peter has been spotted sleeping atop houses and garages and preening in windows and wing mirrors.

Another unusual pet spotted around Harrogate was Zella the naughty raccoon who causes quite a stir in Harrogate when owner Liz Kirby takes Zella out for a walk on her lead.

Is Tommy yours? If not, what’s the most unusual pet you’ve ever had?

Email your suggestions (and any pictures) to the newsdesk.

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