Top 15 Smart Animals in the World You Should Know

Let’s dive into the top smart animals in the world. Truthfully, when you think of animals, the first adjective that comes to mind isn’t “smart”.

An extreme closeup portrait of the alpha male chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda.

Some even use the line “You are behaving like an animal” to describe someone who is behaving irrationally (well, we are higher animals, don’t take it personally).

The real talk here is some animals possess some level of smartness that would shock even humans. While humans crown themselves as the most intelligent animal, these animals continue to showcase an admirable level of cognitive skills.

These skills are evident in their predator-prey relationship, emotional awareness, organization, defensive ability, and many more.

While some might label their “smartness”, primitive, it still sustains them throughout life’s hiccups whatsoever.

Here are the top 15 smartest animals in the world that would shock you.

Related: Cutest Animals in the World (2023): Top 13

Table of Content

Top 15 Smart Animals In The World

1. Dolphins

2. Chimpanzees

3. Elephants

4. Orcas (Killer Whales)

5. Octopuses

6. Cephalopods (Cuttlefish, Squid)

7. Ravens

8. Bonobos

9. Parrots

10. New Caledonian Crows

11. Whales

12. Dogs

13. Ants

14. Horses

15. Pigs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the #1 smartest animal in the world

2. Are Pigs smarter than Elephants

3. What is the IQ of a Dog

4. Are Dogs smarter than Cats

5. What is the most human-like animal

Let’s Wrap This Up

Top 15 Smart Animals In The World

A close-up picture of two elephants playing with their trunks

Here are the top 15 animals smartest animals in the world you should know.

1. Dolphins

Picture of a dolphin mimicking a human

Dolphins are among the smartest animals in the world after humans(Humans don’t count here). They show adept communication skills among themselves. Their organizational structure would wow everyone.

Unlike humans, they use a special system of whistles, body language, and clicks to communicate with each other. These signals inform others of specific messages, allow group activities, and many more “dolphin” activities.

They also exhibit incredible problem-solving skills. They do cooperative hunting(group hunting) and can handle tools well. They can recognize themselves in the mirror, learn from past experiences, and navigate places well.

Their cognitive flexibility and adaptability highlight their intelligence.

Related: 20 Funny Monkey Memes That Would Crack You Up

2. Chimpanzees

A chimpanzee putting a stick into a tree hollow looking for prey

Without proper research, one would have ranked these guys as number one, but two ain’t bad either. One of the most human-like animals in the wild, chimpanzees, have proven themselves to be very smart.

Chimpanzees can learn from humans and copy what we do. Their retentive memory is one to adore. They can also use what they have for their survival and advantage, e.g. Using sticks to extract termites from mounds.

Apart from that, their ability to live in groups and families is commendable. Here, they show amazing emotional understanding between themselves.

Whether in the wild or domesticated, chimpanzees are really smart animals. If there is any coup to take over human land, it would start from them.

3. Elephants

A family of elephants in the wild

Elephants are the third smartest animals in the world. One amazing thing about elephants, albeit sad, is their intense mourning behavior. Elephants take a considerable period to mourn the losses.

This shows high emotional intelligence hence the close bonds between them. They also have remarkable long-term memory.

“Offend an elephant today, and you can be sure it’s getting its revenge whenever it sets eyes on you”.

Positioning elephants third is mainly due to the elevated emotional intelligence they show.

Related: Top 15 Ugly Fishes in the World

4. Orcas (Killer Whales)

An orcas (killer whale) swimming

Killer whales or Orcas are strategic hunters. They employ sound strategies to lure their enemies into trap zones. They might not be the biggest, but their smartness makes them a viable contender in the hunting world.

Most of their hunting techniques can be fine-tuned and used for human purposes if need be.

For example, some groups have been observed working together to create waves that wash seals off ice floes, making them easier to catch.

Killer whales also have advanced communication skills and learning abilities. It is important to survive in the water. They also have large brains and exhibit good emotional intelligence.

These factors collectively highlight their high level of cognitive abilities.

5. Octopuses

An octopus at the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, southern Germany

If chimpanzees attack humans on land, Octopuses would be the ring leader from the sea. Octopuses are extremely smart animals. You can associate their brilliance with the plethoric number of brains in their body.

Each part of their body can function separately. Each tentacle can do different things at different times. They also have incredible camouflage skills in the sea. This makes them invisible to prey most times and allows a “sneak attack!!!”

Octopuses are exceptional escape artists. They have been known to unscrew lids, navigate through mazes, and even use coconut shells as portable shelters, showcasing advanced problem-solving skills.

What an exquisite group.

See: Top 30 Beautiful Octopus Tattoos Design Ideas

6. Cephalopods (Cuttlefish, Squid)

smart animals in the world

Cuttlefish and squid can rapidly change their skin colour and texture to mimic their surroundings, aiding in both hunting and avoiding predators.

This demonstrates not only intelligence but also a high level of adaptability.

Their intelligence is evident in their ability to adapt to their environment and exhibit complex behaviours.

Cuttlefish are considered smart due to their large brains relative to body size, advanced learning and memory capabilities, and mastery of camouflage and mimicry.

7. Ravens

smart animals

Despite their small body, ravens have relatively large brains. They have acute problem-solving skills and use tools well.

They show high levels of social intelligence. If you watch ravens, you will see that they understand and chart complex situations. These abilities rank among the most intelligent birds in the world.

Ravens also use tools to obtain food. One example of how smart they are is how they drop nuts from heights to crack them open.

In captivity, they’ve even displayed the ability to barter, exchanging items with humans for preferred treats.

Related: 10 Most Dangerous Animal in the World

8. Bonobos

Bonobos eating chewing stick

Bonobos are highly emotionally intelligent animals. They resolve conflict through social bonding and cooperation. They are unlike other species that would rather use aggression.

The social dynamics they’ve woven for themselves show their intelligence.

They show incredible problem-solving skills with a cam disposition towards life.

9. Parrots

smart animals in the world

African Gray Parrots are one of the most intelligent species in the world. I dare argue that it’s the African blood in them. They can be more intelligent than some kids.

They are known for their unique ability to mimic human speech and can even understand the contextual meanings of words. This shows exceptional linguistic ability.

Parts would give chimpanzees a run for their money.

Related: 20 Most Hilarious Dog Side-Eye Memes to Make You Laugh All Day

10. New Caledonian Crows

A New Caledonian Crows

These crows are known for crafting and using tools, such as creating hooks from plant materials to extract insects from tree bark. This showcases problem-solving and innovative tool use.

New Caledonian crows are highly intelligent birds known for their advanced problem-solving skills, innovative behaviour, and exceptional tool use.

They not only use tools but also manufacture them, showcasing a level of cognitive ability that distinguishes them among bird species.

11. Whales

A whale in the sea

Whales, such as humpbacks, communicate through intricate songs that can travel vast distances.

These songs are thought to serve purposes like mating rituals and navigation, showcasing a high level of communication intelligence.

Whales are considered smart due to their large brains, complex communication systems, sophisticated problem-solving abilities, social structures, long-term memory, and cultural transmission of behaviours.

These cognitive features enable them to navigate vast ocean environments, engage in cooperative hunting, and demonstrate adaptability in various situations.

Related: Can Cockroaches Live in Your Penis?

12. Dogs

A golden retriever

Has Man’s best friend started learning from Man? I think so. Dogs are one of the smartest animals in the world. You can owe their development to the amount of time they spend with man.

Their mental development has been exponential, and it is obvious in the way they learn gestures and calls.

They show incredible problem-solving skills, like retrieving objects or navigating through blockades.

Most dogs form an emotional connection with men and favourably respond to them. A dog well taught would give you the best years of its life.

The ability that it can be taught is another evidence of its smartness.

13. Ants

Ants working together to perform a task.

Their size does not determine their level of smartness. Ants are evidence that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to “collectively”. They believe in collective work and reward.

The ability to work together which they possess ranks them among the smartest animals in the world.

Ant colonies operate with remarkable efficiency due to the collective efforts of individual ants.

They use pheromone trails to communicate, organize complex tasks such as foraging, and adapt their behaviour based on changing environmental conditions.

Related: How Long Do Butterflies Live? Find Out Below

14. Horses

Thoroughbred horses running together.

Horses display quick learning abilities, especially in response to positive reinforcement.

Their emotional intelligence is evident in their ability to form close bonds with humans, understanding and responding to human emotions.

They have strong learning abilities, good memory, social intelligence, and the ability to form social bonds within a herd.

These cognitive traits contribute to their adaptability and interactions with humans.

Related: Polish Chicken: Everything you Need to Know

15. Pigs

How intelligent are pigs

Snort snort.

Forget the annoying sound. Pigs are the 15th most intelligent animals in the world.

They have shown incredible problem-solving skills in finding hidden food and also forming tight bonds with each other. They display empathy towards other pigs, showing their level of emotional intelligence.

They also have good learning abilities, as they can remember patterns that repeat themselves. They are adaptable and communicate through body language.

There you have it! Top 15 smartest animals in the world. I hope you are more enlightened now.

Related: What Is a Wet Koala, “Photo That Went Viral, Sparking Reactions and Inspiring Memes”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the #1 smartest animal in the world

The Orangutan is now regarded as the most intelligent animal after humans.

The Orangutan Sandy once participated in a human IQ test on which she scored 75 on live TV, beating one of the human candidates.

2. Are Pigs smarter than Elephants

Pigs are very intelligent, far more intelligent than your average dog and far more so than they are given credit for.

A pet pig can be potty trained and learn its name in one day. However, the elephant is still more intelligent than the pig.

3. What is the IQ of a Dog

The average dog’s IQ is about 100. Your average dog is as smart as a two-year-old human!

The dog breed with the highest IQ is the Border Collie, followed by other smart pups like the Belgian Malinois, Poodle, and German Shepherd.

4. Are Dogs smarter than Cats

Scientists have studied both pets and their brains to find the answer to this very question! And, scientifically speaking, they’ve concluded that dogs are likely smarter than cats.

But, before you get up in arms, it’s important to note that cats are intelligent. They just may not be quite as smart as dogs!

5. What is the most human-like animal

The chimpanzee and bonobo are humans’ closest living relatives. These three species look alike in many ways, both in body and behaviour.

But for a clear understanding of how closely they are related, scientists compare their DNA, an essential molecule that’s the instruction manual for building each species.

Let’s Wrap This Up

How do you get to notice these things? By giving relevance to animals more than usual. It’s only when you get to give more attention that you can see the beauty and intelligence in animals.

They might not be as advanced but they live a satisfactory and use their abilities significantly. As higher animals, it’s easy to lose track of this.


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