Laughter is a Multi-species Phenomenon

Sometimes the arrogance we humans express toward other species frustrates me. The thinking seems to be because we created tools and mastered fire, we’re truly above everything else in the Animal Kingdom.

But just through my own observations alone, it’s clear other species do enjoy a sense of amusement and fun, and apparently repeat the same joy-inducing activity (fetching a ball, pouncing on a toy as if it’s prey) because it brings them happiness.

And some animals are ticklish! And when they’re tickled, they laugh!

According to a June 2015 National Geographic article :

So far, apes and rats are the only known animals to get the giggles.

So what about this penguin’s response to being tickled? Clearly the little spheniscidae finds being tickled a pleasurable experience, thus evoking such a joyful trill.

There’s no argument that laughing brings tremendous mental and physical health benefits to humans,  so I surmise that if  humanity isn’t alone in the ability to laugh,  perhaps we’re not alone in receiving the health-enhancing, stress-reducing benefits.

Just something to think about when you’re tickling your dog’s belly trailing a piece of string for your kitten to gleefully follow. You may not hear it as a recognizable laugh, but your pet is thoroughly enjoying this moment with you. And the happiness that brings could send you into some healthy chuckles.


black chimpanzee smiling
Photo by Pixabay on

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