Are you looking for the perfect apartment pet for your child? Perfect meaning no bad smell, no upkeep, and no messes, of course. ;-) Well guess what? There’s something new in the toy department – they’re called Zhu-Zhu Pets and they are too much fun. Even I am taken in by the cute furry hamsters, and every adult I’ve shown them to has felt the same. My dad and I put the Zhu-Zhu Pets hamster “habitrail” (hamster run, wheel, spiral slide, and more) together and played with it a bit ourselves. I’ve decided that this is a must-have toy!
Zhu-Zhu Pets are furry little battery-operated hamsters that seem to really be “smart” – they scurry forward (okay, on little wheels) and back up, turning in a circle if they find themselves trapped or hitting a wall. They can get themselves out of most small holes or tunnels without help, and they stop and make little chirps or other funny noises every once in awhile, then move on.
Although you can purchase the habitrail and fun house for the hamsters, I’ve found that it’s fun for kids to just watch them scurry around the floor. The habitrail does have some features that enhance the experience with the pets, though – the pets read certain “code” built into the parts and they make special sounds when they run across it. Usually a cow mooing or a rooster crowing – SO funny.
Each hamster has three buttons, each with a different function – “explore”, “cuddle”, and “talk”.
My daughter’s take on the Zhu-Zhu-Pets:
My 16-month-old daughter ADORES the Zhu-Zhu Pets. Despite the 4+ age recommendation. I’m not exaggerating, either. She thinks they are real hamsters and follows them around, giggling whenever they turn and nudge her foot with their noses, and she is generally entertained by them at all times. She even cuddles with them when she’s in her car seat. She seriously loves these toys.
I think the pros outweigh the cons, but there are a few cons…
- Hair can potentially be caught in the wheels and this could be rather traumatic. Please warn your kids to keep their hair away from the wheels! If it does get caught, hold the wheels stationary, push the button on the back of the hamster to stop the wheels, and manually unwind the hair from the wheels. At least it’s simple to fix.
- Batteries. They do run out eventually…
- The parts of the habitrail are sold separately, though it’s not like you need all of it at once. I personally think that it would take up too much room if you bought everything and left it all together for a long period of time, anyway. (See below, it takes up the whole living room – lol) It can be taken apart and put back together to create smaller play areas as well.
Of course the fact that my daughter loves them makes me happy with them as well. These pets are anything but boring – they chart a new course every time I put them on the floor and my daughter follows them around tirelessly. Older kids enjoy the whole experience with the habitrail and appreciate the cuteness of the pets as well. Definitely a delightful alternative to live hamsters. Both my daughter and I give these toys our stamp of approval!
The toys are out of stock at many places right now and rather expensive online until they can be restocked. I recommend waiting and buying them at Walmart or Toys-R-Us as soon as they’re back in stock. :-)