Rats Are TicklishScientists who work with lab rats have long used tickling as a reward for good behaviour. For example, in one experiment, researchers taught rats to play hide-and-seek with humans by rewarding them with tickles each time the rats found them. The rats demonstrated that they enjoyed the tickling by leaping into the air playfully and by chasing researchers’ hands when they stopped. They also continued interacting with people who tickled them, rather than showing fear or avoiding them. Similar to people, the most ticklish parts of a rat’s body are the back, tummy, and rear paws. Less ticklish are the tail and front paws. Perdue University actually offers online certification in rat tickling. The course teaches the following techniques:
- Flipping – This is the most advanced technique. It consists of holding down the rat’s front legs and gently flipping it onto its back.
- Pinning – To pin a rat, you keep it on its back while tickling its chest.
- Back tickling – Touching the back of the rat’s neck while avoiding the tail and hips is the best way to tickle a rat.