You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Tickling Rats: Differential Benefits for Pet Store Rats / About

Tickling Rats: Differential Benefits for Pet Store Rats

By Whitney Blankenberger

View Link (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles

Animal welfare and the effects of the human-animal bond are becoming increasingly important to researchers and the public. Animal use in biomedical research is indispensable and inevitably creates stressful situations for the animals. One way to mediate this stress and improve rat welfare is by using a handling technique called tickling. Tickling, which mimics rat rough-and-tumble play, reduces fear of humans and stress of injections (Cloutier & Newberry, 2007; Cloutier, Panksepp, & Newberry, 2012). When rats play or are tickled, they elicit ultrasonic vocalizations (USV), which cannot be heard by humans. These vocalizations can be recorded and analyzed using specialized sound equipment and software. USVs of 50 kHz indicate positive emotions, while 20-kHz USVs indicate negative emotions. Tickling has been shown to benefi t laboratory rats, but some individuals respond more positively to tickling and may receive greater benefi ts. Additionally, welfare improvements have yet to be empirically validated in pet rats.


Katie Osborn

Date 2016
Publication Title The Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research
Volume 6
Issue 1
ISBN/ISSN 2158-4052
Publisher Purdue University
Location of Publication 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907
DOI 10.5703/1288284316194
Language English
Additional Language English
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Emotions
  3. Handling
  4. Mammals
  5. Rats
  6. Rodents
  7. Socialization
  8. stress relief