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Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster

A line of robotic hamster toys.

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The Story of Nugget & How I Came to Own a Zhu Zhu.

  • Dec 25, 2009
  • by
In case you've been living under a rock, the Zhu Zhu pet hamster is the hottest toy of the 2009 holiday season!  So hot, in fact, that they had been sold out in stores for weeks, and even though they typically retail for $10, people had been shelling out $50+ for them online.  After reading an article about how it was sold out in stores last month, I was inspired to create a 10 Hottest Toys for the 2009 Holiday Season list, putting the Zhu Zhu at #1.  As the Zhu Zhu became increasingly sought after in the past month, I felt that it had hit full-on holiday toy craze, thus inspiring me to list it on my 20 Awesome Toy Fads of Holiday Seasons Past list alongside classics like Silly Putty and the Rubiks cube.

So what exactly is this Zhu Zhu thing that people have been clammoring to get their hands on?
  Well, seeing as I received a Zhu Zhu of my very own yesterday, I think I can explain!  The simplest way to describe the Zhu Zhu is that it's a miniature robotic hamster.  It got its name from the Chinese word for "piggy", so not only is it a cute name, but it has a cute story behind it!  Each Zhu Zhu also has its own name.  My little guy's name is Nugget, the yellow colored one.  When I push on Nugget's nose, he sings, squeaks, and coos.  When I push on Nugget's head, he makes even more cute sounds.  And when I push on Nugget's back, he makes cute sounds and scurries around on flat surfaces (watch out for hair and skin though; those wheels are fast and furious!).  His nose is a sensor, so when his nose bumps into something, he backs up.

So are Zhu Zhus worth the hype?  Well, I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but personally, I don't think any toy is worth this much hype.  Of course though, I don't have a child, nor am I a five year old child :P  Pretty much all the Zhu Zhu does is scurry around and make cute sounds.  This isn't to say that I don't enjoy my Zhu Zhu though, just check out the photoshoot I had with Nugget above!  I think I'd be slightly more entertained if I had the add-on sets to play with.  Yes, the company who makes Zhu Zhu actually have a ton of add-ons for it, including an apparatus, convertible car, hamster ball, motorboat, and even a skateboard.  Ridiculous, but a genius way to make money.  As ridiculous as this whole hype is, parents have been gobbling those up, too.

So how did I come to acquire a Zhu Zhu during the Zhu Zhu shortage crisis?
  Alright, Lunchers, story time!  Here's one that will warm your Lunching hearts :)  Remember the Write a Review Win a Zhu Zhu contest that @jrjohnson had earlier this week?  Well, @woopak_the_thrill was one of the grand prize winners for his lovely review The Journey that is LIFE, but instead of collecting his prize, he told me to keep it for myself as a birthday/thank you gift from him, @Count_Orlok_22, @Christy, @trashcanman, @QUEENBFLIX, @Sean_Rhodes and @cenobite7.  Awwwwwwww :)  This has officially made my holiday season. 

And that, my dear Lunchers, is how I came to acquire Nugget during the great Zhu Zhu shortage crisis of 09.   It's not so much the actual gift itself, but moreso the gesture, that has me all touched and sentimental.  Really doesn't hurt that the gift is the very adorable Nugget though :P  Thanks, guys, and thanks to all the folks who make Lunch such a great and fun community to be a part of!  Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and happy holidays to everyone!  I hope everyone gets and/or experiences a little something this holiday season that means as much to them as little Nugget does to me :)
The Story of Nugget & How I Came to Own a Zhu Zhu. Nugget and I. He's so tiny! The Story of Nugget & How I Came to Own a Zhu Zhu. Nugget's 1/3 the size of Furby!

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December 30, 2009
I know someone who managed to find and buy a Zhu Zhu pet at a toy store for a few dollars (it was just one hamster, not an entire set), and he managed to sell it for I believe $60.00 on Ebay. Something else that I found funny was at a Toys R Us near where I live, they were limiting the purchase of Zhu Zhu pets to four per family per day, because they were selling out too quickly. Great review!
December 30, 2009
Thanks! Wow, that is crazy that your friend managed to sell the Zhu Zhu back for that much money. It's cute and kind of fun, but in no way worth $60. That would make sense, though, that Toys R Us would do that. Otherwise, people might start buying tons of them and putting them on eBay to turn a profit! :P
December 30, 2009
That's probably exactly why they did it. Nugget is an adorable name for it, by the way.
December 27, 2009
I guess you made it onto Santa's "nice list". LOL!
December 28, 2009
Haha, we should talk Woo into posing for a pic in a Santa suit!
December 28, 2009
I'll wear a Santa suit if Orlok tells us why he hates waffles ;-P or maybe a vid with him dancing...LOL  I think I would look horrible in a Santa suit he-heh.
December 27, 2009
Your so right, this was hard to nab and I only manage to get this online for my daughter which took some time at Ebay.
December 28, 2009
Aw, does your daughter like her Zhu Zhu? I was kind of peeved (and I'm sure a lot of other people are, too) to learn that two days before Christmas, the distributors decided to release a ton of Zhu Zhus to stores like Walmart and they were being sold for $8. I'm hoping that not too many people overpaid for them online beforehand!
January 01, 2010
Yeah she like it very much and sleeps with it. I managed to claim 2 of them on EBay for $15 (including shipping). But I do feel sorry for those who paid a arm and a leg for one. Happy New Year!
December 27, 2009
It's delightful to see the child in you :-)
December 28, 2009
December 26, 2009
Sweet. I knew I liked that woopak dude for a reason. He's a class act.
December 28, 2009
Sure is! :)
December 26, 2009
ha-ha! Now I didn't expect a write up on this! Yes, thank you for everything, Debbie, happy to see that the little gift made your day!! (wish we could have done more) Ok, now I need to recover from my hangover so I can write some more...LOL!
December 28, 2009
It was too sweet not to include in my Zhu Zhu review! :) And believe it or not, I'm kind of jealous of your hangover. Beats the severe cold that I'm recovering from. Ah-choo!
December 28, 2009
Better get over your cold quickly because New Year's Eve is almost here! Doctor Woopak recommends a lot of Daijinjo Mu Sake to get rid of the sniffles...LOL
December 28, 2009
I wish sake would hydrate me! ;P
December 26, 2009
Reading the part on how you got the Zhu Zhu invoked a loud 'aw!'. How sweet and thoughtful of @woopak_the_thrill :) 
December 27, 2009
I know! When I first read Woo's email, my initial reaction was "AWWWWWW", too! Really is sweet and thoughtful of him :)
More Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster reviews
review by . December 26, 2009
Okay, I'm a grown man...so what am I doing playing with the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster?  Well, that is an interesting story!  I won "Nugget" as part of a contest (thank you Lunch.com).  Nugget was shipped overnight to my house and arrived in twelve hours!  She had barely even worked up an appetite during her flight (I don't think they played an in-flight movie for her, though).  My wife and I were strangely giddy about watching this adorable little pet (toy) show her …
review by . March 27, 2010
Look Ma, No More Stinkie Pets.
   What will they think of next, now at least we do not have to feed this or clean up after this hamster. They do come up with the cutest names such as "Winkie" for this one. Once my daughter and her friends caught wind of this new toy that is all they would talk about. I thought she was crazy at first but, come to find out, they were not crazy or making all of this up, but all of the stuff that were saying this so called rat, "oops", I mean hamster was true. She hates …
Quick Tip by . March 27, 2010
For only ten dollars you can keep you child busy and out your hair.
Quick Tip by . December 28, 2009
I've only had my Zhu Zhu for less than a week, but I think I played with it so much that I broke its nose :x
Quick Tip by . December 23, 2009
I got my first Zhu Zhu today, harkening back the day I got my first Easy-bake-oven or Etch A Sketch. Christmas has officially arrived!
About the reviewer
devora ()
Ranked #4
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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Zhu Zhu Pets, also called Go Go Hamsters in the UK, is a trademark for a line of robotic hamsters.

The toys were created by Russ Hornsby for his company, Cepia LLC. Hornsby also created the popular Powerpuff Girls action figure line. The name comes from Chinese 猪猪 zhū zhū, meaning "little pig." The company employs only 16 people in the U.S. and 30 in China. Zhu Zhu Pets come as 9 different characters, named Patches, Chunk, PipSqueak, Mr. Squiggles, Num Nums, Scoodles, Jilly, Nugget and Winkie. Various accessories can be purchased for creating customized hamster habitats.

Each Zhu Zhu Hamster has its own unique personality & whimsical sounds.
Loving Mode: Pet them, love them, hear them chatter
Explore Mode: Let them scoot, scamper, across the floor.

This particular one is black and white in color and its name is Winkie. It is about 6" long and only a little over a pound. This will take three AAA batteries and the first set is on them, but since they have been sitting inside of the box for so long they may or may not last very long. There is no assembly required for this pet only the when you get any of the parts of the city. There are nine different hamsters to choose from and they all have their own personality and different name which you will find stamped on the tag. Their names are as odd as their colors; from Winkie, Nugget, Scoodles, Jilly, Patches, Pipsqueak, Chunk, Num Nums, and Mr. Squiggles

The National Retail Federation recently listed Zhu ...
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