Can Other Animals Find Humor in Things?

Has it been discovered yet if other animals feel a sense of humor? Because–not to answer my own question, but–I think I have observed that very thing–in dogs.

As I have already said, both of my parents were animal lovers. So I was fortunate to grow up in a house were there always animals–frequently several at a time, in fact. And I notice a weird phenomenon when I get my dogs a treat.

They are watching me intently–naturally, because dogs live to get treats. And then, maybe I will have a minor mishap. Perhaps I will grab the wrong box. Or perhaps I will stumple a little on the way to the treat box. And they wag their tails a little. Why? They all like me, so they are not pleased by my misfortune. In fact, it involves their misfortune to a certain degree to. So clearly it is not something that would make them happy on the face of it. They must think it is funny–right?

BTW, the reason why I chose the general question area over the great debates is because I am hoping someone can cite a recently veternarian study or something.


Parrots have a tradition of biting, hard, their least liked “flock-mate” in the household and immediately following it woith “No! Don’t bite!” I don’t know if that’s really funny but they seem to enjoy it.

I once saw a monkey at the San Diego Zoo crap in is hand, and then fling it’s crap into the watching crowd. It nailed a woman in a white blouse some yards from me. The woman puked, the monkey jumped up and down, screaming.

It looked to me, at least, as if the monkey was enjoying the hell out of the scene.

I remember seeing an orca at a private aquarium in Seattle soak the crowd of people watching it.
It circled the tank with one eye on the group of thouroghly wet onllokers.
To this day I would swear that the orca was laughing at how cleaver it was.

Portuguese Water Dogs are often described as having a “wicked sense of humor.” I can vouch for my PWD smiling and laughing, and they’ll often play silly jokes.

Example - going to bed, only to find my dog sleeping on her back, smack in the middle of the bed.. She’ll look at me, and give me a little PWD “laugh” (it sounds like “keh keh keh”).

When she was about a year old, whenever I went to bed, she’d hop up, and proceed to lay down behind my head. After she curled her body around my head, she uttered her laugh.

Most dogs sigh in a smiliar manner as humans. when they’re disappointed with a situation they’ve been dealt.

I’m convinced my parent’s dalmatian thinks farting is funny. Whenever he or someone else farts, he gets all excited and what can best be described as a “stupid happy” look on his face. I’m sure he’s laughing.

We used to have at the Houston zoo a chimp who would hug his cage bars and extend a hand to you and wiggle a crooked finger in the familiar “c’mere” fashion, all the while blowing you air kisses. When you got close, he’d whip around and hang a moon at you.

I have no idea how that behavior developed.

To flesh this out a bit further, I spent many years with an SO who kept many pooches, primarily mimiature poodles. Great fun was had with both poodle-take-away and the big hit, competitive fetch. This was a show kennel environment, so sometimes I was playing with up to 20 pooches at a time. But it was usually 5 or 6, most of whom I’d known since birth.

A few times a couple of the brighter kids carefully collected all of the throw objects (tennis balls and squeaky toys) and dragged them behind their crates or a door or some such, and then excitedly came out to act as if I’d put up a game of fetch. Not everyone was in on it, so the others just scrambled over because of the excitement.

So I was presented with a warmed up and ready to go fetch squad with no ammo apparent. I decided they were jokin’ with me - just gettin’ me back for a few of the fakes I’d thrown 'em.

Back when my mom was in school, they rode horses there and back… lots of horse riding. More than once when she was riding along at a good clip the horse would put on the brakes suddenly, drop his head, and consequently send mom flying forward and off onto the ground. He’d stand there with a certain look (I can’t describe it 'cause I never saw it); mom was convinced he did this for fun and found it humourus… there was no other reason for it.

Conversly, all the kids rode one horse to school for a time, and that’s all this particular horse had to do - it didn’t have to haul logs to the saw mill or pull the wagon. Once in a while the horse would screw up as they sometimes do and dump some of the kids. That was very seldom however, and whenever it happened that horse would be VERY good for weeks on end afterwords, because it knew that if it did such things too often then my grand parents would make it do other (much harder) work instead. They definately knew about doing things right and wrong and the consequences for doing it.

My parents have, among other pets, two African grey parrots lodged in separate cages right alongside each other. One bird, who is an all-out bastard towards people and animals, yet is also a much better talker than the “nice bird,” has learned to imitate laughter. He does this often, especially when the other bird has fallen off his perch.

Whether he actually understands the function of laughter and employs it intelligent is a gigantic If. However, WE do not laugh when the other bird has fallen off his perch, so I don’t know why the evil bird has decided that laughter is an appropriate sound to make at that time.

That said, I do believe parrots have some kind of a sense of humor, like the rudimentary humor of “that doesn’t belong!” that small children often exhibit - y’know how little kids will laugh if you, say, try to put a banana in your ear when they know that it’s supposed to go in your mouth? That’s one of the first kinds of things they perceive as funny? I think parrots saying the wrong thing (for example, chomping you and then saying “No! Don’t bite!”) is about the same type of thing. African greys are often described as having the same mental abilities as a 2 or 3 year old child, anyway… you never know.

We used to have an English Setter when I was younger.

I saw this dog sneak up on a guy working in the house that was afraid of dogs. He was kneeling on the floor doing something, and she slowly padded up from behind him 'til her nose was right behind his ear, and then she barked loudly - just once!

Even the guy found it funny when he realised what had happened!

The same dog used to run into a room, fart, and run out again wagging her tail!

So based on my observations, that dog seemed to have a sense of humour.

I have seen my cats doing stuff that could be considered pranks, but could also be explained by the fact that cats are evil bastards…