ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

To Zhu Zhu or not to Zhu Zhu, that is the question

Updated on December 11, 2009

A great alternative to a real pet, or a fad that will soon fade into the horizon? Each year there is one toy that emerges as a top seller; one year that was the Tickle Me Elmo, then Furby, then Elmo made a comeback with his Chicken Dance Elmo and TMX the Tickle Me Elmo Extreme! This year the Zhu Zhu Hamster is being billed as the next emerging top seller. In an article on Yahoo! News, Sean Gregory quotes the CEO of Toys R Us, Geral Storch, as saying "This is the hottest toy of the year. There's absolutely no doubt about it." But why this phenomenon? And what exactly is a Zhu Zhu Hamster?

Zhu Zhu Hamsters are battery operated hamsters that move about by small wheels on their undersides.   They retail for about $8 per hamster, and they even have cages, play tubes, balls and hamster wheels that you can purchase for the hamster to play on.  They “run around” and “talk” and even realize when they can’t go forward any longer; meaning when they hit a wall or solid object they squeak, back up and then go a different direction to keep on playing.  They are lovable “pets” that children can interact and play with and not have to worry about them dying due to lack of food or water. 

Some think that these “animals” will make an excellent first pet.  They are small, they don’t require food or water, you don’t have to clean up after them, they never die (although you may have to change their batteries) and they are priced so comparably that they are actually less expensive than purchasing a real hamster.  Real hamsters retail for about $12 at pet stores, and they do require food, which is a nominal cost, and water.  Live hamsters also do make a mess, they chew things, they even bite, and they go to the bathroom, which means the cage has to be cleaned or it will smell.  However, real hamsters have a life expectancy of only 3 years, meaning that your child will probably have to deal with death sooner, rather than later.  That is unless you are the type of parent to rush out and purchase another hamster that looks exactly the same while your child is at school, thus not exposing your child to the death. 

When I think about the Zhu Zhu Hamster, though, I actually see a down side.  Yes, your child is having fun playing with this hamster, but if you are getting it for them as a pet alternative, what are you teaching your child?  Many parents like to start with a small pet, such as a live hamster, to help teach their child about responsibility and the challenge that comes with being a pet owner.  If parents opt for this mechanical version, the child looses that very important lesson, and instead is taught that pets don’t require attention and care, and that they can be stuffed in a toy box when they are done with it.  If you get your child this gift, don’t bill it as a pet alternative, remind your child that it is a toy – and a fun one at that.  If you do this, you and your child can enjoy the Zhu Zhu hamster and all the joy that it has to offer you, should you be able to find one that is. 

Also, be aware that since the Zhu Zhu is able to move due to small wheels on their bellies, that these toys are not made for cuddling, they are not soft and squishy, and should be kept away from hair.  Should hair get near the turning wheel, it could get pulled into the wheel, and hurt your child or ruin the toy.  Zhu Zhu hamsters are not made to take to bed with your child, and if your child wants to sleep with their hamster I would try to discourage it, or at the very least remove the battery prior to your child taking it to sleep with. 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)