* Prices may differ from that shown
Since the frighteningly named "Preziosi Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Jilly" gatecrashed my home and took up residence about the person of my rather excitable young daughter, I have unfortunately added several more to the collection. Glutton for punishment some might say but my daughter is thrilled. Now instead of having one of the damn things to contend with I now suffer FIVE of them. The latest one to grace my house is "Kung Zhu Battle Hamster Cold Space".
These darn toys are very annoying when solo with their chirps, squeaks and random scuttling but with five I am afraid that we have a small riot on our hands. These things have some form of intelligence it seems and actually COMMUNICATE with each other, cheeping in some secret ninja hamster code and plotting nefariously about the house. They lurk surreptitiously only to shoot across the floor and attempt to kill you by breaking your neck as you fall over them. All of this of course is accompanied by the terrified scratching of cats trying to find a safe spot away from the furry toys of doom, and the maniacal giggling of a small child as she watches you suppress a very rude word for the 15th time that morning.
Welcome to the world of the Zhu Zhu hamster.
Zhu Zhu hamsters are an interactive toy which randomly scoot about in a manic fashion via little motorised wheels on their base. They are also equipped with a range of equally irritating noises which range from the high squeak to what sounds like a very badly recorded short sample of Aqua singing that God awful song "Barbie girl".
They come packaged in a flimsy card casing with instructions and the batteries are included. Each of these hamsters have a name and colour which range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Daughter (nearly 4) chose this one for its "hair" which I admit does like somewhat like a mohican ( think Sique Sique Sputnik in hamster form).
The toys work best on a flat and smooth surface (we have a tiled ground floor which encourages them to be annoying to their full capacity). The instructions warn that fluff or hair in the wheels will hinder movement so carpets and rugs are probably not the best place to play with these. They also find it hard to cope with changes in floor level and twitch rather pathetically when they reach this. On a nice flat surface however, these things are quite nippy and scuttle efficiently across the floor.
We have wised up a bit since "Preziosi Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Jilly" met my German Shepherds mouth (and survived) and keep these out of the way now. However the dog vs hamster incident does show that these toys are sturdy and relatively hard wearing.
All of the ones that we have are much of a muchness in terms of construction and have a soft fur which covers a plastic skeleton. There is a motor to drive the little wheels that make it scoot about and several buttons that can be pressed to enable it make a range of noises and sounds. The movement button is the lower one on the back, there is one above this and the nose is also a button for interactive fun.
The size of this toy is slightly larger than a real life hamster and perfect for small children from 3 plus as it is easy for them to hold and handle. The eyes and ears etc are sturdy and well attached.
"Kung Zhu Battle Hamster Cold Space" is obviously quite hardcore with his funky punky hair and grey fur but I have yet to see him do anything other than get under my feet or chatter enthusiastically to his fellow Zhu's. Child loves him of course and wants more...
Zhu Zhu hamsters vary in colour and type and there are a myriad of plastic accessories to waste your money on such as interactive fun houses and hamster balls. Luckily my daughter does not know about those and if I have my way nor will she. EVER.
Interactive and amusing
Unpredictable movement and random sounds
Sturdy and reasonably well built
Come in a variety of colours with silly names
The toys interact with each other when there is more than one
Accessories to buy which enhance play
Rather ridiculous, annoying, noisy and skittish
Need to replace batteries.
Lots of plastic tat available to buy
Price varies, we paid £6.99 including postage.