If you’ve ever wondered what happens when you tickle a rat, now you know…

Nice submishe, The Dude 😉  Now playing on CuteCast…



  1. YAAAAAAAAAAAY! Laughing rats! I fonly I could hear my kitties laugh. I guess purring is good enough…
    oh, and I can’t resist, I hope, I hope…

  2. That clip was pretty interesting. What’s it from?

  3. I need a mic like that!

    *leaves the office so he can go home and tickle his ratties*

  4. the link doesn’t work for me! i wanna see the laughing rats!! can anyone help me?

  5. Oh dear! Laughing rats. This may have made my day, especially the rats chasing the hand to get tickled more.

  6. OMG, THAT’S the job I want. How does one qualify to hang out in a lab and tickle rats all day?

  7. Wisefool says:

    AWESOME. I knew that my rats wiggled like little kids when tickled, but now I know that giggles go with it.

  8. “The Dude abides!” And the rats “take comfort in that”, er, ticklin’. Nice rug. (“k, I’ll stop.)

  9. Peg of Tilling says:

    But…the last thing Dr. Scientist said was, “When we tested the rats, to ask if the activity was enjoyable, the answer was yes” (sorry if that’s not exact)–so…he asked the rats? Gave them a little survey?

    Did you find the tickling activity:

    a) very enjoyable
    b) somewhat enjoyable
    c) not enjoyable
    d) extremely unpleasant

    I found the tickling activity a) very enjoyable, anyway, and I second wanting to hear my cats laugh. You know I have a cat who doesn’t purr? Sad.

  10. I wonder if you could get a monitor to hear what animals say when you scratch em in that one spot that makes the legs jiggle…

    (Homer Simpson drool noise)

  11. i have read about this, but i can’t believe there’s actually footage for the average rat-lover to see and hear! amazing.

    this comes at a sad time for me, because my little Louisa, who had really become my mother’s rat, left us for rattie heaven on Tuesday morning. she was scheduled to be euthanized because of a large uterine tumor that was causing bleeding and edema, but she died before they had a chance to leave for the vet. her cagemate, Gretchen, went over to her and started pawing at her with her little pink rat hand as if to say, “wake up, Louisa!” Louisa looked a lot like the little lady in this video.

    through he tears, my mother told me, “i’m never having rats again!” i’m afraid, despite the sadly short lifespan, i most certainly WILL have rats again.

  12. I want my rats to giggle!

  13. *hugs* for anner and her mom.

    This video brought a smile to my face. Thanks for posting it!

  14. Eve Krupka says:

    I read the attached article and I strongly disagree with the statement that because it evokes laughter, tickling is a pleasurable sensantion. On the contrary, the laughing reflex is automatic, but the sensation is not pleasurable at all. In fact, I would consider it a mild form of torture. Anyone being tickled does everything in his/her power to get away from it.

  15. Sorry to hear about your pet, Anner. I will probably never have guinea pigs again for the exact same reason. 😦

  16. Gee, Officer Krupka…

  17. Laughing ratties! Hee!

  18. Anner,

    I had similar thoughts when my Clairice died from pneumonia in December, but the simple fact is that rats give me SO MUCH JOY when they’re alive that I just can’t imagine my life without them.

  19. I knew that… researchers discovered this several years ago….

    BUT…and it’s a biggy…..

    MY Siberian Husky laughs and grins like a Cheesey Cheshire cat when we tickle his tummy….

    and he doesn’t try to get away…. he LURVES it!!

  20. Yay for squeakers!

  21. Argentee says:

    Not everyone hates being tickled. My husband does, so I never tickle him.

    I’m with the Ratties though… if I had someone wanting to tickle me, I’d chase after them asking for more!

  22. That is AWESOME! Rats get way too little attention. They make fantastic pets, very affectionate and sweet.

  23. Christine Hughes says:

    Haha, I was wondering about how they ask the animals whether they’re enjoying it, too.

    I do not like to be tickled, although I am very ticklish.

  24. Here is for the people who can’t get the link to work:

  25. Catman Dude =^-.-^= says:

    I’ve tried to tickle my kittie… i don’t have hands anymore !!!!

  26. Giggling ratties! It was meant to be!

  27. Teho, love the West Side Story ref.

    i’m a little torn about this issue. i myself HATE to be tickled and usually experience a sensation somewhere between annoyance and suffocation. but i have known folks who enjoy it. this is one more instance in which i really wish we could just *ask* the aminals.

    thanks for the condolences, folks. it means a lot.

  28. My rats also like being tickled, and they also like to tickle me back. I don’t quite squeek like that, though. *LOL*

  29. Now that’s the kind of animal testing I can get behind!

  30. Teho, you little %$@&#!…
    I didn’t say F’BLEEN I said B’FLEEN!!! Dammit, I’ve been on this site for YEARS and if I wanna dance around and wave my fierst comment in your face YOU SHALL ALLOW ME!!! Wah. I was frist. Furst forst farst. Me!

    [NOTE — it’s best not to argue with the narrator… er, the mod]

  31. I love the little rattie on his back, his little feets waving in the air! Tickle belly!

    I don’t know about adults, but every kid I’ve ever seen has the “oh noes! tickles!” *runs away* “chase me! tickle me more!” attitude towards it.
    I got to spend part of the evening yesterday chasing a friend’s niece who protested vigirously that she didn’t like being tickled.
    Until she chased me, asking for more.

  32. Catman Dude (cool handle, BTW) — Are you typing with your feet? Impressive!

  33. Ratties!!!!! I have to say mine tickle me more than I tickle them. They love to crawl under my shirt and scamper up my bare back and shoulders – which always leaves me giggling. How nice to know they may be giggling as well.

  34. Beautiful Drunk says:

    I am totally loving this! Who would have thunk it? Nothing makes my day like a giggling rat.

  35. I’m disturbed on so many levels…I thought tickling pets was a private occupation more than a government funded ASPCA sanctioned experiment. Did someone get aholt of this poor gentleman’s home movies?

  36. Purple Belt says:

    I think they use something like that to let us hear bats, too. Those rats are adorable. How fun to realise that they enjoy tickling, too!

  37. heidilynn says:

    OK, I agree with y’all who say being tickled is no fun, so I wouldn’t automatically say it is pleasurable to be tickled until you laugh…but you can’t argue with the rats chasing the scientist’s hand, basically going “do it again, dad; do it again”.

  38. lauowolf says:

    This is wonderful.
    You really gotta love science

    They discovered rats love attention, and really like to be tickled.


    Now I want to see the next one when they decide purring cats are usually showing enjoyment.

    Cracks me up!
    And the ratties liked it too.

  39. HeidStar says:

    I lurve how Dr. Scientist is speaking all scientific empirical evidency and all the while he’s TICKLING a rat and the rat is GIGGLING! Cutest video I’ve seen here in a long while!

    [ultrasonic vocalization of rage]
    Bleen yourself.
    [stomps away grumbling]

  41. TeratoMarty says:

    I gotta know, who funds this stuff? I work for a federally-funded health research agency, and a certain president I won’t name has gutted our budget. Where do they have the cash lying around to pay some guy to tickle rats, and can I get a job there? Pretty please?

  42. omg, that is adorable…
    and bless those scientists’ little hearts…
    we need more people like that!

  43. TheLoveOfIsis says:

    Look how they run around and follow his hand… Ahh… I love this site. Thank you Meg and Teho, I just don’t know what I would do without looking at this site every day.

  44. Jess E. —

  45. Laura B. says:

    This guy’s job is to tickle rats all day?
    Sign me up!

  46. How funny! They are just like my three year old who squeals Don’t tickle me Dad! and then grabs his hand and puts it back on his belleh.

    And c’mon guys- who gets all the funding? The MILITARY that’s who- they are going to go after the enemy wif teh Qte. We could of told them how effective it is years ago. For free. But no one listens to a bunch of squeeing half ded cuteologists. We need a lobby. Or something.

  47. Gawd this really makes my rat wanting even worse! I want a RAT!!

  48. Interesting – and the white paper actually says that it’s young rats that respond to tickling with laughter. Is it a coincidence that we call kids “rug rats”?

  49. My university studies the coolest stuff.

  50. I love rat bellies!

  51. Whoa! That guy is relentless with the tickling! If I were his rat, I woulda’ peed my little ratty pants by now.

  52. Laurie C says:

    “We need a lobby. Or something.”

    I’m up for a lobby, and a patio.

  53. Alice Shortcake says:

    That does it! Tomorrow morning I’ll be roaming those derelict warehouses down by the river, looking for rats to tickle!

  54. The First Noel says:

    Rats are ticklish! I learn something new every day!

  55. I guess I’m going to have to write a grant proposal to investigate whether kittens enjoy being petted and chasing bits of yarn.

    (And for those concerned about the enjoying aspect… although they didn’t explain how they tested this, it’s certainly possible to determine whether an animal, especially one as intelligent as a rat, will avoid or seek out a given stimulus.

  56. Laughingrat says:

    Ms. Krupka, fortunately, is incorrect–rats enjoy being tickled, which they interpret as the kind of rough and tumble play they engage in primarily as adolescents. They don’t flee from this kind of interaction, but rather seek more of it. Long experience bears that out, and I’m sure other rat keepers would agree.

    The video itself is cute, but the research was not. Don’t fool yourself that any of those rats came out of it alive. The process of understanding what happens in the brains of animals used in psychiatric researc–even super cute psychiatric research–usually involves the death of the animal; in this instance, as someone personally acquainted with the people who did the research referred to in the video, I know this to be the case. There is always a price. I truly wish it were otherwise.

  57. Sorry for your loss, anner. I lost my pet rat a year ago, this month. At the time, I also said I’d never have another, but now I’m not so sure. He also looked a lot like the hooded rattie in the vid.

  58. SixFootJen says:

    If you have a rat that is miserable and anti-social, perhaps it’s because no one tickles it. Or, in other words, “It’s depraved on account of it’s deprived!”

  59. My deepest condolences, Anner………

  60. New Scientific Hypothesis: Rat laughter is contagious.

    I got me a $100k grant to study it right here on the QTEoverload. I watched them little ratties getting tickled, heard them laughing, and laughed myself. If you laughed out loud too please share with me, Professor TFMS at the University of Qute.

  61. I kind of agree with Krupka, though to a lesser extent. They say that if your SO adores tickling you frequently, it can actually be a symptom of an abusive/dominating personality.

    Of course, in a light-hearted way, it’s harmless fun, like how we tickle kids. But there is a dark side.

    Back to the topic of rats… I SOOOOO miss my lot. Fat, furry, warm, fuzzy, squishy, and full of personality! And even their physiology is so similar to humans–I love that they’d sit, stand, walk, contemplate, eat, and sleep… and I’d get the impression that they were furry leprachauns or something.

    Don’t miss cleaning poop-filled cages, though! Or wiping trails of balldrag! 🙂

  62. Hmm… The mysterious and elusive.. HAND SNORGLE!

  63. Those rats were totally “DO IT AGAIN! ME ME ME!” I enjoyed being tickled as a kid. Tickling in humans may be like “play fighting” in animals…Harmless fun that confirms bonds and relationships.

  64. Oh, I forgot to add…If the rat’s didn’t like it, they’d take a big chunk out of the guy’s finger.

  65. Anyone watching that video can see that they are enjoying this, come-on.

    How cute. I’d read about this study before as well but never imagined I’d video of it. I’m afraid you migh be right Laughingrat, I hope that this is a purely behavioral study with no brain-dissecting aspect but… that doesn’t happen all that often.

  66. Now this is laboratory testing on rats that I approve of 😉

  67. I have a rat that slurps my hand like a dog when I scritch behind her ears. Can’t wait to get home tonight to try tickling! (Wish I had that gadget so I could listen in.)

  68. beenclawed says:

    Can I tell you how great it was to watch this? I work at a major univ in the school of medicine. Not fond AT ALL of the animal testing that is done here, or anywhere else. A labworker was recently complaining because she said a rat tried to bite her when she was giving it an injection in it’s tail vein. I said, what the heck would you do?! It’s trying to protect itself!!” I pray for all those poor research animals every day.

  69. Rats are particularly cuddly when they get old.

    Here is my late great Einstein:

  70. We had a rat that my daughter convinced us to get. I fell totally in love with her. Not only did she giggle but she would also scold, and do the angry dance if she did not get her way. Oh and lets not forget her warpath dance when my daughter put her friends hamster cage next to Templeton’s cage while we were hamster sitting. Apparently hamsters and rats are natural enemies. Who knew!! Templeton also knew every member of the family. She was a gentle loving rat (unless you were a hamster). They really make a great pet.

  71. chumblefuzz says:

    I’ve four deviant rat bachelors, and they are now doomed to incessant tickling. For purely selfish reasons, mind you. You see, Rat laughter = natural agent of human euphoria.

  72. About how they “ask” the rats if they enjoy it: in this kind of experimental setting, they probably offer tickling as a “reward” the rats get for pushing a button or pulling a lever or something like that (similar to how rats or other animals can learn that pushing a button gets them food).

  73. eikoleigh says:

    I’m speechless. That’s so cute.

  74. This is the best news I’ve heard all month.

  75. Arvay – was Einstein neutered? i don’t notice any, you know…baggage. which is usually so prominent on the boys. i had my boy barry neutered (so he could co-habitate with a girl), and i don’t think he ever forgave me!

  76. If they didn’t like the tickling, they wouldn’t be chasing the hand….

  77. If they didn’t like the tickling, they wouldn’t be chasing the hand….

  78. oops

  79. That is so cyooooooooooot!!
    Happy animals. What could be better?

  80. Those rats didn’t die in vain… their sacrifice ensures that hundreds of pet rats will now be tickled by their benevolent handlers… We salute you, laughing rats!! 🙂 The ground-breaking for the tickle memorial begins tomorrow… 😉

  81. anner, yep. All of my boys that came from the humane society came with new ters. My boys that came from private rescue did not. It is to them that I refer, when I talk about balldrag. 🙂

  82. beenclawed – yeah, for real! biting is most rats’ LAST line of defense (#1 is retreat, #2 is really gross pooooop), which means they have to be really upset and scared to do it. in fact, when my mother was really young she worked at a dental research lab and, sadly, fatally injected many rats. she said not one ever tried to bite her. your labworker probably did something awful like pick it up by the tail. boo!

  83. Somebunny said-I think Laurie?
    We need a patio to go with our lobby?
    Yeah- and a big hot tub out there- with a stereo w/sweet speakers. And some tacos. And Space for all the animals to play too- like hampster tubage and some toys for the rabbits to chuck around…

  84. Oh, and a cool tv for watchin the cutecast…

  85. bitter sweet vid. I LOVE that science is learning that animals actually have pleasurable feelings -yay!
    But I can be pretty sure that the rats were bred for this experiment and will be euthanased when it is over. The scientists would not be taking the ratties home after its all over.
    So what did the scientist himself learn in the experiment? that he can give pleasure to an animal yet not experience any pleasure himself? (since he will kill the rat later). Back to square one for compassion I’m afraid. sorry to say the K word on this gorgeous site.
    This vid needs to go into the SAD category.

  86. kestrien says:

    In honor of Theo & Jess E., I present the true story of “First!”

    Courtesy of Best Week Ever:

  87. Well Eve, not everyone finds it unbearably torturous and unpleasant, as there are people out there with tickle fetishes. If they didn’t find it positive in some way, they wouldn’t derive sexual gratification from the feeling.

  88. In any case, the concept of giggling rats is adorable. 😀

  89. On the euthanizing topic, I’ll try to shine a little light on an unpleasant thought. Even if the ratties are euthanized for this experiment, some good may still come. At UC Davis, I worked at the California Raptor Center, which rehabbed hawks, eagles & owls. The majority of our food supply was free from UCD – euthanized mice & ratties who were controls or used in psych experiments. Without them, hundreds (if not thousands) of birdies over the years would not have gone on to fly in the wild once more.

  90. anner – I’m sorry about your loss! 😦 ((*hugs*))

  91. CuteBaby – you had me at “tacos”.
    And I LOVE the giggling rats.

  92. But the real test is to show them ‘Simpsons’ reruns and see if they laugh at that.

  93. under the category of duhhh!

  94. I didn’t know rats giggled, but they do “brux” when happy by grinding their teeth together. It’s the rat equivalent of purring.

  95. Awww, my rat would chase my hand like that, too!

  96. If they also laugh between themselves as was indicated, it makes you wonder if they know something we don’t. All these little guys watching us and laughing inaudibly to themselves; it is enough to make one insecure.

  97. Ohh! My rat used to wrestle my hand too, I always knew he loved that game!

  98. darkshines says:

    Damn,I thught maybe the California Raptor Centre was like Jurassic Park, now THATS a cause I’d support! I have had many rats over the years, of all the different animals we had, rats are my fave. My fave two of the six we have had were non identical brothers called Wesley Presley Afro Freckles (hooded) and Errol Paleface Champagne (erm….champagne). I ued to feed them bacon, and they were enormous, and lived for about 6 years! At their biggest they were about two foot long! When they were younger and lighter, they would sit on my shoulders and nibble my dangly earrings, unfortunately, eating that much bacon makes you a fat, heavy rat, and they would hurt my shoulders as they got older! Beautiful pets, and in my experience, its the girl rats who smell…..

  99. darkshines – 6 years!!! i haven’t had any live more than 2. maybe bacon is the rat fountain of youth.

  100. Ah, Bowling Green State University, my dear employer, it’s so great to see you doing the really important research, like rat tickling.

    Seriously, that’s random. The clip looks old. Wonder if that dude’s still around…

  101. I love it, giggling ratties!!!!

  102. Ponygirl says:

    Am I the only one who isn’t getting this with sound?

  103. 6 years!! DANG. Darkshins you could start a whole rattie longevity movement! Rattie lovers would love for their babies to live longer than 2-3 max years.

  104. darkshines says:

    Its all about a good balanced diet, a lot of play, and fresh air. I regularly walked my boys out in the sun, not on a leash but in a run, similar to the ones you would put rabbits and guinea pigs in. Sunshine is so good for rats! But be careful if you live in an area that has wild rats, as they can carry Weils Disease in their urine……

  105. CO ducks, chickens, ferrets and kittens rule. Is there anyone who loves this site the way I do who is not seriously thinking vegetarian? I have seen such horrid videos of frightful things done to animals -even free range chickens…with names like Alec Baldwin behind the exposes. The faux fur lie, the dog and cat patchwork leather from China. I never knew it was so terrible and because of Cute Overload, it comes home strong with a lot of pressure. I do need good veggy recipes. Thanks Kip

  106. I WANT A RAT NOW.


  107. I’d love to be the grant writer on this project!

  108. Kristina Anshelm says:

    please do not show animals that are caught up in experimental projects, it is too depressing

  109. I don’t know if this was mentioned earlier by anyone, but why would the rats follow the dude’s hand if they didn’t enjoy what the hand was doing? If they did not like hand action, they would run away from said hand. So, I’m thinking they dig this.

  110. That man has the best job ever. Tickling rats for science! Pure awesome.

  111. Rattiegirl says:

    Wow, this is great! BTW, the guy sure had a smile on his face too when he was tickling the ratties. Awww, they’re such cute creatures! I LOVE RATS!

  112. IgwigWolf says:

    I’m slightly disgusted really that such a cute website would show a video of animals caught up in experimental research. I’m not going to deny that the rats were enjoying that because they certainly were, and I know my rats LOVE to be tickled but its sad really, because telling by their size those poor rats were probably bred specifically for that experiment and will probably be disposed of afterwards, hopefully through euthanasia but they may be passed on for further experimenting or brain disection to further the laughing tests. Poor little ratties 😦 the world would be much better if scientists put up posters saying *we are wanting to conduct an experiment on whether tickling rats makes them laugh – anyone wishing to lend their companion for a day of fun and enjoyment contact us now! All ratties will be returned happily!* that way no ratties would suffer.