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Toy Fair 2010: Zhu Zhu Pets expands to include new critters and accessories

February 16, 2010 |  1:54 pm

NEW YORK -- Last year's breakout toy, Zhu Zhu Pets, is adding new hamster characters and accessories to its lineup -- as well as several new animals. Zhuzhu

Parent company Cepia introduced the new toys at this week's American International Toy Fair, where Zhu Zhu Pets won the Toy of the Year award.

In addition to more than 16 new robotic hamsters, the St. Louis company is rolling out hedgehogs, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies and raccoons.

There will also be a "rock star" line featuring hamsters with mohawk hairstyles and edgier colors. And, to cater to boys, Cepia is also introducing "Kung Zhu," a special line of hamsters with alter egos who can battle one another before reverting back to their squeaky, cuddly selves.

And that's not all. Look for new play habitats -- such as a pizzeria, salon and airport -- for the critters to zoom around in and products such as coloring books, Vice President of Marketing Natalie Hornsby said in an interview from the company's private gallery at the toy fair.

"We want to keep the line strong," she said. "When you look at the concept, there's no reason why it shouldn't be around forever."

The new critters will hit the shelves this year for $9.99, with accessories priced up to $24.99, she said.

Zhu Zhu Pets went from obscurity to become the holiday season's biggest phenomenon, with major retailers including Toys R Us and Wal-Mart selling out of the toys almost as soon as they hit shelves.

-- Andrea Chang

Photo: Zhu Zhu Pets became a toy sensation during last year's holiday season. Credit: Zhu Zhu Pets