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Toe-Ticklers are unique beings. They are around human-sized, and overall resemble tetrapods, with 2 key differences: They have 2 pairs of forelegs in sequence, each of which have a mass of dexterous tentacles in place of a manus. They are terrestrial pack hunters, with a social structure like wolves. Their most notable feature is that when they encounter a young human girl, they will often try to capture and tickle her, usually on the feet, before releasing her (usually)

What is a plausible biological reason for this behaviour?

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  • $\begingroup$ Only juvenile female humans? Not males? How big are these toe-ticklers? Wolf-sized? cat? mouse? Are they terrestrial or do they live in the water? By "capture" do you mean capture, kill and eat? or really just capture and tickle? $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Aug 2 at 19:51
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    $\begingroup$ It looks like you're trying to have us help generate an idea for you. Such questions are rather opinion based and therefore not a good fit for this site. In fact we used to have dedicated close reason just for idea generation questions. What's preventing you from coming up with an explanation on your own? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Aug 2 at 22:38
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*static* The following radio broadcast is brought to you by NASAdent
ingestible toothpaste. Win the day with a winning smile! News today from
the world of science! Experts from around the world have gathered in
Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the growing phenomena known as TOE-TICKLERS.
These large but seemingly harmless creatures have created an increasing
panic as young women around the world are being abducted to apparently have
their toes tickled. Religious leaders last week denounced the TOE-TICKLERS
as proof that sexual relations out of wedlock will bring eternal punishment.
Leading scientists aren't sure the goal of the creatures is that philosophical...

Ach-tung! Eet is vit the greatest pleasure, yah!, that I am today to report on da findings of the Analyse des Zehenkitzelverhaltens und der Damit Verbundenen Physiologie, yah! dah leetle toesy-ticklin' creetures like da giant feather dusters dat like da leetle girls, yah! and im Sinne dieser Meta-Site-Frage, I announce the following data. Is exciting, yah? We conclude tha fallowing:

  1. Drs. Jenkins, Volkov, Abdullahi, et al. (2020) suggested based on the tendency of the Toe-Tickler's muscles to shiver while tickling the toes of young women that the combination of toe jam with female enzymes is hallucinogenic. Apparently, tickling a girl compared to a fully-grown woman is a more intense rush. Gloria Steinhem has called a press release later this evening to elaborate on this report.

  2. Caribbean housewife Alvita Reid (2021) suggested based on the tendency of the Toe-Ticklers to, well, tickle, is that they lack the capacity for Gargalesis, the natural tickle response leading to laughter that many mammals enjoy to one degree or another — and therefore can only experience it vicariously. Further, she's sure that their hearing must center on higher frequencies than humans, which is why they prefer the laughter of females. She's been quoted by our undercover reporter at Jamaica's famous Geejam Bushbar that she's entirely disappointed Toe-Ticklers haven't yet been found in Jamaica.

  3. Dr. Emmett Brown (1985) suggested that the Toe-Ticklers appear to have no means of vocal expression. He concludes that, since the feet alone are responsible for over 400,000 nerve endings, what they must be doing is trying to communicate. He substantiates his claim by pointing out that the creatures only attempt to communicate with girls, who are known world-over to chat incessantly and are therefore the most obvious candidates for successful communication. However, in a brilliant Master's Thesis, Breathnach (2018) points out that this is unlikely because the Toe-Ticklers never take the girls' phones.

  4. Dr. Sakura Chiba (2021) carefully monitored the condition of a girl while being tickled by a Toe Tickler and discovered that the increased dopamine from tickling was osmotically absorbed by the Toe Tickler as a form of bonding and concluded that the Toe Ticklers, which are apparently all male and otherwise asexual in nature, are simply trying to get a date.

  5. A classified CIA report leaked through Wikileaks reveals that an analysis of Toe Tickler behavior suggests they're trying to extort information from their victims. The CIA is now investigating the possibility that toe tickling may be a heckuva lot more efficient than waterboarding. The report further indicates that it's to remain highly classified due to the embarrasment of admitting that the agency has been materially wrong all these years.

  6. Dr. Nefario (2010) claims to have definitively proven that effective toe tickling is a great way to exhaust people. He further claims to have proof that the victims who are not returned are those who fell asleep from the exhaustion. He claims to have developed a Blurp Gun that he guarantees will awaken any victim. He finally claims that the lack of ransom demands from the Toe Ticklers in no way exonerates their obvious efforts to capitalize on their natural abilities.

  7. Six year old Sigríður Magnúsdóttir has suggested that Toe Ticklers aren't really real and are really a story told by her pabbi to get her to brush her teeth. According to her pabbi, the Toe Ticklers (like cats) feed off the oxygen-rich exhalations associated with laughter. Local reporters doubt Sigríður's story because her pabbi says she likes the taste of...

Thank you for joining us today for news from the world of science... and
don't forget to brush with NASAdent! Used twice a day to reduce tooth decay,
non-foaming and completely ingestible NASAdent will bring a smile to your
face! *static*
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  • $\begingroup$ Reading this with made up voices was a blast. Would +1 twice if I could $\endgroup$ Aug 3 at 11:28
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I have a dog. Whenever I am lying down on the couch or my bed, she will sit on me. She will obsessively lick my face and ears (but not my partner's, so the dog clearly has a preference); if my face is out of reach, she will lie upon my legs and lick my toes for minutes before she is satisfied. She is quite heavy so while I can get up before she is done licking my feet, it is VERY uncomfortable to me to do so. I usually just let her do her thing.

Perhaps your ticklers are just like that, they like to lick people because people taste good. They might have a preference for girls because wherever they live it is a cultural thing for girls to always keep their feet clean, whereas boys don't live up to the same expectation - so if you want just some human sweat without a dressing of mud and dirt, go for girls.

And the licking is very tickling.

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    $\begingroup$ "She will obsessively lick my face and ears (but not my partner's" Most likely you are Diabetic, and your partner is not. You taste sweeter. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Aug 2 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ @PcMan I just burst out in laughter because I get the joke and I am indeed diabetic :D $\endgroup$ Aug 2 at 20:01
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Sound ?

Lot of question marks here.. how intelligent are these toe-ticklers.. They live like wolves in packs, so it's rather an animal. Maybe it likes the sound ? just the right high pitch frequency ?

Chimpansees like the giggling sound, because it is a sign of "non-attack", refer article link below.

I don't think this could be a truely wild hunter.. although humans and apes and rats appreciate tickling, I doubt effective tickling could happen without consent ! What's the role of toe-ticklers in human society ? How come these animals are allowed to tickle girls.. The toe-tickler could be the girl's pet.. or maybe it is some kind of cultural habit humans learned, because wild toe-ticklers are really good at tickling toes ? But in that case why only girls and not the rest of us mammals, who like being tickled and make high pitch sounds like e.g. rats do, or my grandmother does (I'm lost now)

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170518-why-humans-chimpanzees-and-rats-enjoy-being-tickled

https://vidyasury.com/2012/04/tickled-pink.html

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Toe-Ticklers may simply be cleaning the feet and feeding on whatever they find like Cleaner fish. It may also be their form of social grooming like in apes, so they like the laughing.

There are forms of torture involving a goat licking salt from peoples feet so I can see Toe-Ticklers being pretty proficient ticklers with their tentacle fingers. Tentacles are perfect for reaching in between the toes, a perfect service for people with Athlete's foot. The Toe-Tickler gets a meal and the person gets a good time and clean feet, a mutually beneficial relationship. As to why they would prefer girls it may be because they don't kick back like boys sometimes do.

If they live in packs they would be very social creatures, grooming (or I guess tickling) each other regularly to stay clean. Giggling may be their way of saying "please tickle me more" so when a little girl giggles, they can't help but indulge her until she falls asleep laughing.

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