Like people, rats are ticklish.

Now, by implanting electrodes in the brains of these laboratory workhorses, researchers have identified the brain region that seems to drive the trait — an insight that could illuminate the origins of ticklishness in people.

The work, published in the 11 November issue of Science, also reveals that rats’ susceptibility to tickling is affected by mood, rather like in people.

Separate from the study, the researchers say they have found that rats are ticklish in similar places to people — on their tummies and back paws, but not on their backs or on their front paws.

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