Can animals be ticklish?

And do you personally know of any?
Great apes, sure. But what else?

Several years ago, Jaak Panksepp, now based at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, decided to see how rats reacted when they were tickled

The researchers found that the rodents emitted high-pitched chirps when tickled by the scientists - outside the range of human hearing. They also produced the same noises when they played around with other rats.
In a series of published papers, the researchers said they believed these experiments revealed a primal form of laughter.*

BBC link.

I had dogs who loved being tickled.But they never laughed.:wink:

I would say yes. I’ve had a zillion dogs/cats that had a certain area that they would go ape shit over if stroked in a certain way.

But none more than a Calico cat my Ma had. I can’t even begin to describe it. I truly wish I had a video of this. If you tickled the inner part of her right thigh this cat would raise it’s paws it the air and make the most gawd damned sound you ever heard (like a hyena laughing) and twitch like the Frisco’ quake! The twitch was weird enough, but the laughing sound she made was insane. She was really a nice kitty, too.

Dear diary,

Today, pkbites touched me in that special place again. I think I’m falling in love!

Sincerely, Kitty

It’s generally known that dogs don’t like having people handle their paws – they usually flinch or pull the paw away. I’ve always suspected that they are simply ticklish there.

I’m guessing it’s like a mild tickle, but they sure aren’t laughing: some horses will get irritated or grumpy, even to the point of trying to kick the brush out of your hand, if you brush lightly on their belly or flanks, but will stand quietly or even seem to enjoy it if you brush the same areas more vigorously. I suppose it’s like someone lightly brushing your arm hairs vs touching your arm - the light touch is tickly in an annoying way.

Video and the research paper.(pdf file)

Our ferrets go pretty crazy when you tickle them. Not sure whether they’re experiencing the same sort of ticklish feeling as humans, but it sure is fun to watch. :slight_smile:

Here’s a laughing camel

There is no way that such a primal response is limited to H. sapiens.
I have seen tickling responses in both cats and dogs.
It seems unreasonable that such a response is not widespread among ‘higher order’ mammals.

This doesn’t actually clear up the question, but it came to mind when I saw the thread title:

Tickling a Slow Loris (YouTube video)

Thanks, everybody.

I guess “can animals be tickled?” is a future column by Unca Cecil or SDSAB.

Most non-primate animals don’t seem to laugh like we do, so it’s probably hard to immediately tell if they’re “ticklish” or just don’t like to be touched like that. I had an otherwise gentle and good-humored cat that loved be pet along his back and head, but he would bite and claw if you touched his lower back or chest. That could be a ticklish reaction.

A better question is “Why are animals ticklish at all?” Seems like a really weird thing when you think about it.