St. Louis Company Hawks This Christmas' Hottest Toy. Are You Ready? It's an Artificially Intelligent Hamster!

But of course!

Who wants to clean up hamster poop and pony up for rodent feed when fake little critters are available for only $7.99?

Or, were available.

The New York Times reports that Ladue-based Cepia LLC can't keep the shelves at Toys 'R Us, Wal-mart and Target stocked with its crazy-popular Zhu Zhu Pets. The retailers are taking desperate measures: placing limits on purchases per household and doling out promotions for certain sale-days in order to control lines and call volume.

On eBay, the Zhu Zhus -- "little pigs," in Chinese -- have been seen at mark-ups of more than 400 percent.

Daily RFT guesses that a whopper of an order from Santa must be keeping the little elves over at Cepia mighty occupied right now...'cause we our call to the company has gone un-returned.

So: What makes these hamsters so smart?

According to the rodents' own website, they will play with you in "loving" or "exploring" mode. Depending on how you touch 'em, the four different Zhu Zhu Pets will respond with yaps, squeals or any number of movements.

Chunk is into surfing. Pipsqueak boasts of being a daredevil. Squiggles is finicky, while Numnums professes to being a gourmand.

Not sure what happened to Patches, who was previously available, so please don't ask Daily RFT to explain that one to your kid.

Yes, the little pigs have their own iPhone app.

The Times says the battery-operated hamsters are the Ladue company's "breakthrough toy."

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