The hottest toy this year may be the Zhu Zhu pet hamster, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing. John Kass recently wrote in his Chicago Tribune column that “Evil fake hamsters don’t deserve a place under the tree”. Children will “learn nothing about life from a fake hamster,” said Kass. “A fake hamster can’t love. Their cuddles are cold and empty.”

According the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, children raised with pets show many benefits:

  • “A child who learns to care for an animal, and treat it kindly and patiently, may get invaluable training in learning to treat people the same way.”
  • “Taking care of a pet can help children develop social skills.”
  • “Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.”
  • “Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others.”
  • “A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion and empathy.”

first-petThese are just a few of the benefits that owning a real pet can provide to children. Hamsters are, in fact, good first pets and our staff can help you learn everything you need to know about buying and owning a real, live hamster for your family.

Avoid the crowds — unlike the mobs clambering for Zhu Zhus, we have hamsters available and in stock for the holidays here at The Animal Store, with a knowledgeable, friendly staff that can answer all your questions. Family fun with your own pet hamster will continue long after the Zhu Zhu has been forgotten in the box.
critter-trailThe Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster House House Starter Set with Mr. Patches toy hamster retails for $84.99.  The Animal Store Hamster Starter set includes:
  • CritterTrail Starter Habitat with quiet exercise wheel, water bottle and food dish, with expandability ports to add on accessories
  • food
  • bedding
  • hamster treats
  • and a REAL live young hamster — that you get to name yourself!

Everything you need for family fun all for just $50.

Come in and ask what pet is right for you and your family. And leave a comment to tell us how caring for a real life pet changed your life.


  1. WkSocMom December 2, 2009 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    I loved my hamster Snowball growing up, we have so many crazy hamster stories. My dad was allergic to cats and dogs so we had all small pets.

  2. teachmama December 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    My kids have no idea what the zhu zhu is but love Golden and Guinea–their two guinea pigs. Pets for kids–especially little kids–is sometimes work for parents, but they are such a good teaching tool on so many levels.

  3. Rebecca Michelle December 4, 2009 at 2:01 am - Reply

    My hamster Gizmo was great company when I was little. And so was Harry my guinea pig 🙂

  4. Putra May 11, 2010 at 6:34 am - Reply

    wow i love my hamster named kashimiro

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