June 30, 2012

Laughing rats.



Via James Taranto, who tweaks the scientists as having "lonely lives" (since they are resorting to tickling rats). But I think it means something, if animals laugh — if they play and have fun — and it's not all survival instinct.

Note that the rats don't just laugh, they latch on to The Hand as a playmate and chase it around, eager to engage it in more fun times.

34 comments:

Sorin said...

Congress critters at play!

madAsHell said...

...and who paid for this scientist to study laughing rats??

ricpic said...

Energy is eternal delight,

--William Blake

AllieOop said...

Tickle therapy for depressed rats, better than SSRIs.

Chip Ahoy said...

My Belgian took off running and slipped on a mud slick created by beavers. She slid so far on her back down a slight slope with her legs in the air spinning in the air, best Slip-n-Slide ever, but black mud, and it cracked me up so hard the dog got up so full of fun and play she ran back uphill took another run a it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Crossword constructor Frank Longo keeps rats. He's a total Ben about it and very defensive about them being good pets.

deborah said...

Rats are excellent pets. Very intelligent and affectionate.

sleepless nights said...

My cat laughs at appropriate times during play - kind of a stuttering version of a purr. He has quite a sophisticated sense of humor, really.

ndspinelli said...

I've never seen John Dean laugh.

Alex said...

Rats are probably cleaner then dogs.

galdosiana said...

Rats are one of the best possible pets you could ever have. They are social, friendly and loyal like dogs, and extremely clean like cats. (You can very easily train them to use a litter box, and they constantly bathe themselves.) They are also extremely intelligent and can be taught all kinds of commands, like the smartest breeds of dog. The only negative is their short lifespan: most will only live about 2 years. If anyone is looking for a great companion animal that can be trained and also easily kept in a small house or apartment, rats are the best possible option. :-)

Palladian said...

Rats are one of the best possible pets you could ever have. They are social, friendly and loyal like dogs, and extremely clean like cats.

Too bad about the Y. pestis...

Alex said...

Actually the truth is that fancy rats do not carry y. pestis, they can get if they interact with wild rats.

Dante said...

Play is merely the necessary conditioning for the survival required at adult-hood.

Yes, traits can occur that are not linked to survival, necessarily. In fact, traits can occur that are anti-survival, such as those found in the bird of paradise.

Only, not sure about this one.

Roman said...

I'm suprised it took this long: 'Who gives a rats ass?'

Larry J said...

madAsHell said...
...and who paid for this scientist to study laughing rats??


I think you and I both know the answer to your question and it isn't funny. Two years to study laughing rats.

edutcher said...

They should save the anthropomorphising for Mickey and Minnie.

Robert Cook said...

Anyone who cannot see at this late date that animals do have emotions and do play and develop emotional bonds with other creatures are just not looking.

Robert Cook said...

"...and who paid for this scientist to study laughing rats??"

We don't know, do we? Assuming your implication as to who is paying for this is correct, then it's the same source that pays for bombs, bullets, attack drones, and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The study of rat behavior is certainly cheaper than even the most modest of these other programs, and is money better spent at three times the price!

I see this knee-jerk indignation at how our tax money (presumably) is spent risible, and probably not even sincere. It's just a cheap excuse to bitch.

Every time some research study is publicized, the immediate purpose or utility of which is not immediately apparent, a fair number of nitwits are sure to gripe about how our tax dollars are being thrown away.

Well, the trillions we spend on killing and the machineries of killing are sucking more of our money than countless such studies ever will, and certainly to less productive and more destructive purpose.

Methadras said...

That's very cool. I know that dogs laugh. I recognized it in my dog when he made only one sound when we played.

somefeller said...

It's possible the rats know what The Hand can (and perhaps will) do to them. Better to laugh with The Hand and try to befriend it.

Chip S. said...

Do you know what the US global hegemony achieved by all that military spending has inflicted on the world, Cook?

A decade with the lowest number of war deaths in the past 100 years.

As has been known since the Pax Romana, if you seek peace prepare for war.

I'm not claiming that the current level of military spending is exactly right, but of course you didn't make any sort of informed criticism of the level of spending. You engaged in exactly the sort of knee-jerk indignation that you criticized in others.

jacksonjay said...

Rats don't "laugh" when trap goes snap!

cubanbob said...

Robert Cook said...
Anyone who cannot see at this late date that animals do have emotions and do play and develop emotional bonds with other creatures are just not looking.

6/30/12 1:54 PM

Don't ruin a good comment with political shit.

Play, laughter and emotional bonds require a certain level of self awareness, intelligence, a degree of sentience. Well worth researching since it can't but lead to discoveries and a deeper understanding of ourselves and a greater respect for other living creatures.

Dante said...

Play is a way of getting ready for adulthood. Yes, there are things that have nothing to do with survival, mostly due to female preferences, and these can even cause traits that make a species less competitive. Take a look at birds of paradise, or a peacock. Those tails aren't helping the peacock to run away, but they are useful in tickling the crazy female libido.

PatCA said...

Play is a version of hunting that the animals always win, IMHO.

My cat used to get up on the roof of the porch and then when I would call him to come in, he would hang his head down and not make a sound. When I finally looked up and saw him, he would "laugh" and roll around in delight. He won the outing!

You can train a rat; that doesn't mean you should. Surely the mad scientist is not implying that, is he?

Alan said...

So how do they react to waterboarding? Branding? Tarring and feathering? Listening to "Bohemian Rhapsody" sung by William Shatner?

Penny said...

No clue, alan.

Although I do suspect that if you rub the bellies of rats and cats and dogs, they're all pretty much going to think it's a banner day.

Penny said...

Can't say this is true in any scientific way, but my guess is that if the rats like it? My squirrels are gonna go nuts!

Penny said...

So how the heck am I gonna get my backyard squirrels in that teeny glass box so that I can scratch their bellies till they laugh?

Penny said...

Rhhardin?

Do NOT want to hear about Vicki Hearne's methods....again.

Cripes, I almost called her Vicki Hard On.

Is she a relative of yours?

Forget I said that.

Too rude.

Penny said...

Cripes, just seems a helluva lot easier to let them in to scratch MY belly... as long as I put a nut in my navel.

Like a carrot in my belly button hole, except it's not. It's a NUT, silly!

Ever seen a squirrel looking for some carrot?

Yeah yeah, there's always ONE.

Penny said...

But with all due respect to that ONE squirrel who wants some carrot.

Seems it might make more sense to study the effects of a belly rub on a human....such as ME! :)

Carnifex said...

TO ALL WOMEN IN A RELATIONSHIP!

This is important!

You should scratch/rub/comb your husband/boyfriends hair/head at least twice as much as you do your dogs. The benefits are incalculablabalale...incontrover...unref....they'll really like it!