By studying our fellow mammals, humans have come to realize that our brethren have some form of emotional capacity and response. Dolphins, for instance, sing to their babies in the womb, teaching them the important signal calls that will keep the baby safely at the mother’s side. Elephant enthusiasts have documented cases where herds of elephants have stopped to examine and seemingly mourn over the bones and carcasses of dead elephants. Even whale researchers have stood in awe as humpback whales seemingly help sea lions out of the water and out of the reach of hungry orca whales.
One of the cuter cases studied was that of mice and their ability to giggle and sing.
Now, a mouse may not have much to laugh about, but if humans can giggle, it’s not hard to believe that other mammals may be able to as well. Doctor Karen Shanor was interviewed by Larry King in 2010, sharing huge amounts of information regarding animals that have been observed to communicate in an almost human manner. Shanor’s book, Bats Sing, Mice Giggle, documents the many manners in which mammals, avians, and reptiles communicate in order to mate, claim territory, or even give warning signals to watch out for hungry predators.
Mice, as well as rats, have been documented to giggle when tickled by the human hand, according to Shanor’s book. Further, it seems the rodents seem to enjoy being tickled, since they have been observed to chase the hand around the cage, hoping to be tickled again. Their giggles have been recorded and the giggles, while to humans may sound like mere high pitched squeaking, is very telling when it comes to mice and their emotional responses. It’s not every day that you can look at your pet mouse Jiji and crack a joke, with Jiji roaring in laughter. That doesn’t mean a tickle won’t send the little guy squealing all over his cage.
Recently, mice have also been documented singing. While mating calls are abundant and well documented in the animal kingdom, mice are unique in the fact that their mating calls can reach ultrasonic levels. The call itself sounds when a mouse creates a small air jet in its windpipe. However, this is a method only previously seen performed by jet engines and it’s hard to consider a mouse creating such a unique noise. But, finding a mate trumps realistic expectation and male mice continue to bleep and chirp their way into a lady mouse’s nest. Outside of the mating call, mice have also been documented singing in order to claim their territory. Other mice hear the calls and know to stay away or have to duke it out with the current landlord mouse.
Check us out next week as we feature more animals and their amazing, human-like characteristics!
Featured photo by Martyn Fletcher