Rats laugh when they are tickled

Scientists knew that rats like to be tickled on their stomachs and backs, so they conducted further studies.

Researchers at the Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany discovered that rats could laugh in 2016. With special microphones, they tickled the rats and recorded squeaky giggles. Even when rats playfully chased the researchers’ hands, the rats laughed. Their laughs are too high-pitched to be heard by human ears, and can only be heard through the recordings. 

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City animals are changing their physical characteristics

Evolutionary biologist Rob Dunn, in his 2022 book A Natural History of the Future maintains that evolution can occur quicker than people think – mostly unnoticed, right under our noses. Evolution is happening when the physical characteristics of animals change over time, or new types of animals develop, or some animal species disappear.

Rob Dunn first explains how animal species can evolve and change. One way is through isolation – when animals are separated from other species, they can diverge and change some of their physical characteristics. Another way is through a change of diet, and another way is through geographical barriers.

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Australian Swamp Rat

The Australian Swamp Rat (Rattus lutreolus) is a mammal in the Muridae family of rodents and true mice. It is also known as the Eastern Swamp Rat.

The Australian Swamp Rat has a stocky body with black-brown fur and black feet. Its underbelly is lighter. It has small, rounded ears, and small, dark, round eyes. It has long, white whiskers. Its tail is long, dark-grey, scaly, and without hair.

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African Giant Pouched Rat

The African Pouched Rat (Cricetomys gambianus) is a muroid rodent. It is also known as the Gambian Pouched Rat. It is not a true rat. It has pouched cheeks like a Hamster. 

The African Pouched Rat has a long grey-reddish furred body, light-coloured tail, pink ears, and a pink-grey nose. It has long incisor teeth. 

It has an excellent sense of smell. African Pouched Rats can detect land mines and tuberculosis.

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Brown Rat

The Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) is a common small rodent mammal and a muroid. It is also known as the Common Rat, the Street Rat, the Sewer Rat, the Hanover Rat, the Norway Rat, the Parisian Rat, the Water Rat, or the Wharf Rat. 

The Brown Rat has coarse brown or grey fur. Its underbelly is lighter grey, brown, or whitish. It has a long body and a long tail. It has excellent hearing and sharp gnawing teeth. 

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Raptor eating its prey: a Southern Giant Pouched Rat

Raptors are birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, vultures, kites, and buzzards.

They have strong, sharp beaks and even stronger claws, called talons.

This photograph is a Yellow-Billed Black Kite (Milvus aegyptius) from Kenya.

Its prey is a Southern Giant Pouched Rat (Cricetomys ansorgei), which is a rodent in the Nesomyidae family, found in southern and eastern Africa.

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