Animal Laughter: Do Pets Have a Sense of Humor?
Chances are, if you have pets, you have witnessed a time when you can see their sense of humor come out. When your dog brings you their toy over and over, or when your cat sits on your computer as you furiously work on a deadline and you can see their sardonic side shine through. But do animals really have a sense of humor? The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center went looking for answers, and we’re bringing you what we found, here.
Fascinating research has shown that animals do laugh. The evolution of human emotional expression has been studied in chimpanzees and other great apes, and it was found that vocalizations made by them during social interaction and play have key similarities to human laughter. They use these sounds – panting noises, mostly, to indicate to their social group that they are, in fact, playing and not fighting.
In another interesting study, psychology researchers Jack Panksepp and Jeffrey Burgdorf found that rats make high pitched chirping sounds when playing and interacting. They wanted to know why the rats emitted these noises, so they starting tickling them! What they found is that when tickled, the rats again made the high pitched chirping sounds – rat laughter. The rats even chased the researchers fingers for more tickles.
Do Pets Have a Sense of Humor?
Scientists are gradually coming to acknowledge that animals have emotions, so it’s not a giant leap to believe that animals have a sense of humor., too How do our pets show their sense of humor? Here are a few things we’ve noticed…
They smile and laugh – A big, toothy grin, chuffy panting, grunting and sparkling eyes can easily be seen as doggy laughter. What’s more, a Michigan State University study reported that recordings of dog laughter played back to dogs in a stressful shelter environment calmed them and increased their confidence to interact with shelter staff and other shelter animals.
They play hide and keep away – Is this one of your dog’s favorite games? Tell us that’s not proof of a sense of humor!
They show delight, amusement, and glee – Dogs love to dance, play, and wag their tails happily, sending the message
They talk to us – A Brigham Young University study concluded that babies under 6 months of age can understand dog vocalizations. It’s no joke that babies sometimes find dogs hilarious, confirming that dogs have a sense of humor and say funny things when talking to them.
They bring us gifts – Dogs may amuse us, but cats use humor to amuse themselves. When your cat brings you a dead “gift” and drops it at your feet, it feels like they are getting the last laugh at your expense!
They have perfect timing – Birds, especially large parrots, are exceptional mimics. When they deliver some choice words to us, and then laugh at us at the exact perfect moment, it seems that they are truly masters of the one-liner. Birds are also great dancers – another way they show their sense of humor.
We may never know for sure if animals laugh or if they truly have a sense of humor, but our pets make us laugh on a regular basis and bring joy and humor to our lives – and that’s no laughing matter! Does your pet have a sense of humor? Give your Pet Experts a call to let us know!
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