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Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster

A line of robotic hamster toys.

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Do You Zhu Zhu?

  • Dec 26, 2009
  • by
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 stuff, which helped me understand why this little pet is one of the hottest selling toys of the 2009 Christmas toy rush.
zhu zhu nugget

Zhu Zhu comes in a cardboard and plastic "shipping crate" that has a hole to allow potential "parents" try the nose button out so they can see just how adorable these little pets are.  The nose button works during the sleep mode, making the pet coo or babble before returning directly to sleep mode (conserves battery life).  There are two additional buttons that can be accessed once your hamster is removed from his/her crate and allowed to roam.  There is a button on the top of their head which will activate the interactive chatter mode for a minute before the pet automatically returns to sleep mode.  Your Zhu Zhu will remain immobile in this mode allowing owners to tell them just how cute they are without them scampering off to some distant dust-filled corner.

zhu zhu family

The final mode allows your Zhu Zhu to explore his/her surroundings.  The button is located on their back and will keep the hamster active for four minutes before they tire out and go back to sleep.  However, if they are getting on your nerves, you can press the button a second time to put them back to sleep (this also works with the head button).  In exploration mode, the hamster will interact with the room using an unpredictable set of options (move forward, spin, chatter) combined with sensory perception via their nose.  If they come upon a solid object or wall, they will spin to proceed in another direction.  I have hardwood floors, which were easily navigated by Nugget.  The carpte is another matter.  Carpeting makes traveling difficult, but these little critters do seem to adapt and overcome.  Nugget started hopping across the carpet when rolling became difficult.  The combination of hopping, spinning, running and squeeking was fun to watch (and drove my Pomeranians nuts).


If you don't like the idea of automated rodents having the run of the house (or if you have other pets who might try to eat them, a secure environment is available.  The environment is interative with your pets as well!  The Zhu Zhu comes equipped with a sensor on the bottom front which will allow your pet to navigate their "habitrail."  They have a car complete with garage, a starter set, the traditional hamster wheel, slide, exercise ball, Snuggies (yes, snuggies...or something close to it), and much more.  These environments allow your pet to explore while providing a variety of sound effects or other interactive experiences.

zhu zhu funhouse

Zhu Zhu pet hamsters are an affordable toy that is certain to bring hours of fun to younger (and maybe a few older) consumers.  At ten dollars per toy, you get a lot of options for a very reasonable price.  Considering these pets have interactive features, randomized reactions and power saving options (aside from simply being automated) it is surprising they are so inexpensive.  Maybe Zhu Zhu is planing on recouping some of the cost of the technology through the accessories.  The Hamster House Starter Set runs between thirty and forty dollars, which seems steep for a few plastic parts.  The Hamster Wheel runs close to twenty dollars and a Deluxe Assortment will set you back one hundred dollars!  

zhu zhu deluxe

Now that you now more than you possibly ever wanted to about the Zhu Zhu, let me introduce you to mine!  Nugget is one of nine in her family.  She has eight brothers and sisters, they are:  Mr. Squiggles, Num Nums, Chunk, Pipsqueek, Patches, Jilly, Scoodles and Winkie.  They are all different colors so they are easy to tell apart.  Nugget is a daydreamer.  She likes to chase butterflies and find pictures in the clouds.  I don't have any butterflies for her to chase, so she mostly just runs around the floor aimlessly exploring her surroundings.

The best part about Nugget is the fact that I don't have to clean up after her.  There are none of those nasty cedar woodchips to change, no making sure the water bottle and feeder are full, and no odor.  Most importantly, as she roams around the hardwood, she doesn't leave any piddle puddles or other surprised.  She is clean and tidy.  At ten dollars, the Zhu Zhu pet is a bargain.  Now that Christmas is over, they will probably be found in abundance.  If you invest in this interesting little pet, be prepared for sticker shock if you get hit up for the accessories...they are not cheap.  The best part is...the Zhu Zhu pet is great fun even without the other bells and whistles!

Thanks again to Lunch.com for sending me this gift (prize) in time for Christmas. 

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December 29, 2009
I'd consider buying one to try and entertain my cat Fred, but he's such a scaredy cat thathe'd probably have a heart attack and fall over dead.
December 27, 2009
ha-ha! This is so cool! I bet Devora's Zhu Zhu will run circles around yours! LOL!
December 27, 2009
It probably will. That was cool that you told her to keep it!
December 27, 2009
December 27, 2009
What a fun write up! I'm actually living at the city where they manufacture these toys! Haven't been looking around for them as I haven't been shopping for kids but I'm sure I'll find them soon enough. With all that TLC in the house, well, soon enough you'd have new member to the family ;-)
December 27, 2009
I wonder if they have been any easier to find in YOUR neck of the woods!
December 26, 2009
Love this review!  So cute and funny, and I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying Nugget's company :)  I'm with you on the prices.  I'm surprised that the Zhu Zhus are only $10, but that the add-ons are so pricy.  I'm pleased with playing with my Nugget as is.  Thanks for sharing, John! :)
More Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster reviews
review by . December 25, 2009
The Story of Nugget & How I Came to Own a Zhu Zhu.
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 …
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!
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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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