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That's life

Is Bugs Bunny A bad role model?

Carrots, it seems, aren't good for rabbits. "The furry burrowers have difficulty digesting the sugar in carrots and most fruits, so they should not be the sole source of nutrients," says Prather McNeal, of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Instead, pet rabbits should be eating hay, fresh herbs, and vegetables.

"In fact, many foods commonly associated with certain animals are actually the worst things pet owners can feed them," Dr. McNeal says.

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Insects for iguanas? Nope. Most lizards are vegetarians, eating only plants, leaves, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

And then there's birdseed. For some birds, seeds are appropriate when supplemented with other foods that provide balanced nutrition. Other birds, however, are not accustomed to eating seeds. For example, the diets of Macaw parrots - which are indigenous to warm, tropical regions - are typically comprised of a wide selection of items, including fresh fruits and nuts.

However, not all popular associations are wrong, saysMcNeal. For monkeys, bananas are gastronomical bliss.

High gas, low dining

While politicians debate the impact of high gasoline prices on the economy, a recent poll from Maritz Research shows that rising gas prices have impacted the casual dining industry. In an online poll of 1076 restaurant customers, one in four indicated that the increase in gasoline prices has decreased the frequency with which they eat out.

"When there is less discretionary income, luxuries such as eating out are fairly easy to cut back," says Rick Garlick of Maritz.

Not surprisingly, diners who have children under 12 are even less likely to dine out. One in three parents of young children say they have recently decreased their frequency of eating at casual dining restaurants.

"The combination of high gas prices, along with the hassles associated with taking young children along, makes staying home an especially easy decision for parents," says Mr. Garlick.


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