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This article is about one of the five main senses that animals have. For the television show, see Touch (TV series). For other uses, see Touch (disambiguation).

Touch is one of the five main senses that animals have. It can be called the somatic or haptic sense. The system also includes a number of internal sensory receptors, and includes sensing temperature and pain. There is a special area in the brain devoted to processing haptic input. It is in the parietal lobe of the cerebral cortex.

An animal knows if something is against a part of its body. This is called the sense of touch. The process of touching something may be called feeling.[1]

Tiny touch sense organs under the skin help animals feel hardness, softness, and sharpness, for example. Animals also have sense organs which feel temperature and pain. Some parts of the body, such as fingertips have many more sense organs than others.

When animals touch things, nerve fibres attached to the sense organ sends messages to the brain through the central nervous system. The brain interprets the messages, and animals feel things. [2]

Touch as communication

Humans, and mammals in general, often touch each other. Touch is a kind of non-verbal communication. Behaviours based on touch are very important for keeping family and group members together ('bonding'). It is part of the 'glue' of their social life. Monkeys grooming each other's fur is a good example.


  1. Although 'feeling' has other meanings as well: I am feeling ill.
  2. Morris, Neil; Ting Morris (1998). Jim Miles, Lynne French. ed (in English). Children's First Encyclopedia. Branka Surla, Rosie Alexander. II Bardfield Centre, Great Bardfield, Essex CM7 4SL: Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84084-332-2 .