Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 3, Ed. 1 Friday, May 28, 2004 Page: 50 of 72
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- Dallas Restaurant Assoc
"One of the best 10 restaurants
Cheh Joanne Bendy
Starting Lunch in the Fall ot 200-1
3888 Oak Lawn Ave.
One Turtle Creek #135
Plates All NIGHT - $4.50
Live Latin Jazz
Sunday BRUNCH and
Sunday Salsa Night
Live Music ( Free Dance Classes)
DINNER • LUNCH
SAT & SUN BRUNCH
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Five blocks east of Downtown
SWEET STUFF: Sugar gliders are so named for their preference for sweet foods and their ability to glide through the air.
By David Sooter Special Contributor
Many of us look to our pets to define us or at
least give onlookers insight into our personality.
If the average cat or dog does not suit you, try
another species. Many pet owners choose exotic
pets for various reasons. Sugar gliders, dwarf
rabbits and rats are among the most popular
mammals outside of cats and dogs. Dr. Kernba
Marshall, a board certified avian specialist at
Metroplex Veterinary Centre, provides informa-
tion for owners and potential owners of such
Marshall loves the look and feel of the sugar
glider. Sugar gliders are marsupials from
Australia and Indonesia. They are attractive,
portable and fun to watch sail through the air.
“Being a marsupial in itself makes them a great
novelty pet. They are much more practical than
owning a kangaroo,” Marshall says.
Sugar gliders reside in groups of 20 to 40 in
the wild, which is one problem for new owners.
They “live in groups for a reasons — one
being that they’re adamant about grooming.
Living in groups, sugar gliders have several other
companions to focus on for grooming. Left
alone, they will over groom themselves to the
point of self-mutilation,” Marshall says.
Nocturnal in the wild, sugar gliders seek out
food at night, thus bringing up a second concern
for owners. Unless your nightlife includes sitting
in the dark alone, sugar gliders may not be for
you. Although the diet is easy to maintain —
fruits, vegetables, tofu and mealworms — people
usually don't know what they are getting into.
Marshall strongly advises against choosing sugar
gliders as a first exotic pet.
Rabbits are common choices for a seasonal
pet. As with Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” which
boosted sales of spotted puppies, springtime pro-
motes bunnies. Marshall agrees that rabbits are a
better choice for a household pet than most
exotics. Bunnies seen at the mall or pet stores are
usually the small, dwarf rabbits. Marshall
believes the dwarfs temperament is “too skit-
tish” and recommends the Giant Flemish. They
have a calmer temperament and make better pets
than the smaller breeds.
Rabbits’ diets consist of timothy hay (never
feed alfalfa), dark leafy greens and pellets. Like
female dogs and cats, it’s recommended to spay
female rabbits to avoid uterine cancer at older
ages. The drawback of rabbit ownership,
Marshall says, is that “the climate in the metro-
plex is often too hot for rabbits to reside as out-
door pets. They need cooler days and access to
cool water. FTowever, kept inside, these guys
have to be monitored closely.”
Rabbits insfinctually gnaw on things. They
chew on chair legs, tables, cabinets and base-
boards. It’s recommended to leave rabbits caged
unless they’re supervised.
So, what’s an ideal pocket-pet recommenda-
tion? The rat.
“They are affordable, they show individual
personalities, they like attention, and they are not
usually biters,” Marshall says. However, “most
people just cannot get past the tail.”
Rats are hardy creatures that eat a variety of
foods. There are several rat breeds, but Marshall
says most rats available originate from the
Norway rat. Rats come in a variety of colors and
patterns, including Siamese, spotted and hooded.
Albino rats have poor vision and rely on
whiskers and smell for sensory input. Marshall
noted the two main problems seen in rats are red
tears and tumors. Red tears occur when rats are
“It’s a red, glandular secretion that looks like
blood. Many owners panic when they see it,” she
Rats become stressed when their environment
is not kept clean enough.
“They are fastidious groomers, even more
than cats,” she notes.
Overcrowding, inappropriate diet and using
cedar chips can cause this negative reaction.
Tumors develop with age and can be surgically
removed. Many owners chose this option, but
regeneration of new tumors is inevitable..Rats
reach their sexual maturity in five to seven
weeks, and only live to be two to three years old.
Passionate about her career and her patients,
Marshall recommends plenty of research before
adopting any pet. Making sure you have an
appropriate environment and the right informa-
tion to care for a pet is crucial for a happy and
David Sooter is a veterinary technician at the
Pet Care Hospital in Plano. Sooter welcomes
readers ’ questions about pet-care topics. E-mail
them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 21, No. 3, Ed. 1 Friday, May 28, 2004, newspaper, May 28, 2004; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616511/m1/50/: accessed June 16, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.