Animals Laugh Too

Every pet owner knows that animals love to play, but laughter seems reserved for humans, a few apes, and maybe a few birds good at mimicking humans and apes.

As it turns out, according to a new article published in the journal Bioacoustics, laughter has been “documented in at least 65 species,” Jessica Wolf writes at UCLA Newsroom. “That list includes a variety of primates, domestic cows and dogs, foxes, seals, and mongooses, as well as three bird species, including parakeets and Australian magpies.” This is a far cry from just a few years ago when apes and rats were the “only known animals to get the giggles,” as Liz Langley wrote at National Geographic in 2015.

Yes, rats laugh. How do scientists know this? They tickle them, of course, as you can see in the video just above. (Rat tickling, it turns out, is good for the animals’ well being.) The purpose of this experiment was to better understand human touch — and tickling, says study author Michael Brecht, “is one of the most poorly understood forms of touch.”

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