Hamster prices triple in China
Author: Michael Bristow Source: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7240468.stm
Hamsters have become the must-have pet in China since the Year of the Rat began on 7 February.
Pet shop owners say stocks are running low - and prices high - as children clamour for a furry friend.
According to the Chinese media, prices have tripled to about 30 yuan ($4.20, £2.10) per hamster across the country.
In the Year of the Rat, this tiny creature has become the most
acceptable rodent, a type of animal that is not everyone's first-choice
"Rats and mice have a bad image, but hamsters are gentle.
hold them in your hand and play with them," Xinhua News Agency reported.
Pet stores are also reporting an increased interest in other,
similar-looking creatures, such as chinchillas and squirrels. But it is
the hamster that appears to have caught the imagination at the start of a
new lunar year in China.
One father told the media: "I've always wanted to buy my son a small
animal and a hamster is an ideal choice. By bringing up a pet, my son
will learn about compassion and caring for animals."