20 Smartest Animals in the World – Which One Has Highest IQ?

Smartest animals in the world

Scientists have researched animal intelligence for years. This article looks at the 20 smartest animals globally. They range from highly intelligent apes and dolphins to lesser-known species like octopuses and elephants.

  • Chimps have great problem-solving abilities and use objects as tools.
  • Elephants show emotion and recognize themselves in a mirror.
  • Dolphins communicate with complex vocalizations.
  • Ravens are capable of producing innovative solutions due to parallel thinking.
  • Crows make tools by trial-and-error learning until they find the shape that works.

Forbes magazine reported on October 21, 2021, that otters hold hands while sleeping afloat to avoid drifting away!

Think twice before buying a smartphone – why not get a smart dolphin instead? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Top 20 List:

To explore the smartest animals in the world with animals such as dolphins, chimpanzees, elephants, pigs, parrots, crows, octopuses, dogs, cats, horses, rats, squirrels, bees, ants, orcas, wolves, bonobos, deer, llamas, and koalas as solutions. We’ll be focusing on the unique skills and abilities that each of these animals possesses, which has earned them a spot on the list of smartest animals in the world.

1. Dolphins

Source: worldatlas.com

Dolphins are known for their intelligence and incredible social behavior. They can solve problems and use tools. Plus, they can recognize themselves in mirrors – something only a few other animals can do. They also love to play with bubbles and seek out contact with humans.

Their echolocation system helps them find food in the dark, and their complex communication language of clicks and whistles conveys various messages and emotions.

Though humans have hunted dolphins for centuries, they remain one of the most beloved creatures. Conservation efforts and increasing awareness of their unique traits – such as altruism towards other species – have given hope for their survival.

Unfortunately, dark moments still face dolphins today, like the Taiji dolphin hunts where thousands were slaughtered.

2. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzee Kabi
Source: janegoodall.ca

Chimpanzees are renowned for their intelligence. They are called Pan troglodytes, or our NLP variation of Chimps. These primates can problem-solve and use tools in complex ways. Plus, they show unique emotional intelligence. They can be empathetic to their fellow chimps and even humans.

Kanzi is a well-known chimpanzee who was raised with a language comprehension program. The results? His communication skills are on par with a 3-year-old human. He understood over 3,000 words! He could create his own sentences using simple English.

In Tanzania, chimpanzees altered their sleeping arrangements for safety reasons. They chose to sleep nested together at higher elevations in trees, instead of on the ground. This behavior showed problem-solving and altruism.

Chimpanzees are amazing creatures. They use tools for survival and display empathy and intelligence. They capture the hearts of researchers and animal lovers.

3. Elephants

Source: savetheelephants.org

These gentle giants are amongst the most intelligent creatures on Earth. Their brains boast an impressive memory, and they can solve problems too! Plus, they’re self-aware and sensitive to the suffering of their herd and other species.

Their cognitive capacities allow them to recognize themselves in mirrors, differentiate between different languages, and even use tools! Elephants communicate with each other using a complex system of sounds, gestures and vibrations that humans can’t hear.

Apart from their smarts, they also have intricate social structures. Females lead the herd and males leave when they’re adults. Elephants even mourn their dead – visiting their bones years later!

Don’t miss out on seeing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat or accredited sanctuaries – where they’re treated with respect.

4. Pigs

Source: unsplash.com

Those oinking, grunting creatures – possess amazing cognitive abilities. Studies show they have emotional intelligence and can recognize themselves in a mirror!

Behavior Cognition Communication
The social creatures have a strong sense of community and hierarchy. Pigs are equipped with impressive memory skills, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability. They communicate with each other using vocalizations and have great listening skills.

Not only are they smart, but pigs also have amazing senses. Their sense of smell is so powerful, they can detect odors up to seven miles away! That’s why they’re used for truffle hunting.

It’s incredible to think that pigs can be so resourceful and full of personality. For instance, they’ve been known to save their owners from danger by alerting them of fires and intruders.

All in all, it’s no wonder that these animals are famous for their intelligence and unique traits. Can parrots order a pizza and pay with their wings? We think not!

5. Parrots

Parrots boast amazing communication skills; they can mimic human speech with precision. Their powerful memory allows them to solve complex puzzles and perform tricks. Moreover, these birds display self-awareness and emotional intelligence, enabling them to adapt to different situations.

Additionally, parrots have unique personalities and traits. They can understand and respond to a person’s emotional state. Thus, they make great companions.

Sadly, some parrot species are endangered due to habitat destruction, hunting, and illegal pet trade. If you’re a bird enthusiast or looking for an intelligent, affectionate pet, adopting a parrot is a wonderful experience. Don’t miss out on this special opportunity!

6. Crows

Source: thespruce.com

Crows are incredible – they can solve problems, use tools, remember facts and interact socially with other species. Plus, their communication and understanding of body language is unique in the animal kingdom.

In ancient Egypt, crows were viewed as symbols of wisdom and luck. It was believed that crows could protect people from evil spirits and bring good fortune.

But, despite their remarkable abilities, crows aren’t generous enough to share their three hearts with us, like octopuses.

7. Octopuses

Source: bbc.com

Octopuses are some of the smartest creatures on the planet! Here’s a table about their impressive capabilities:

Brain Size Same as a dog or cat
Camouflage Can change color, shape and texture
Memory Can remember tasks after months or years
Tool Usage Use shells, rocks and other objects

Octopuses are problem solvers and quick learners. They even have individual personalities!

Don’t miss your chance to see octopuses in their natural habitat. Plan a trip to an aquarium or go diving!

8. Dogs

Source: be.chewy.com

Dogs are super smart! They can understand hundreds of human words and gestures, and learn commands after a few repetitions they are amazing domestic animals. They can even detect cancer with high accuracy. The smartest of all breeds is the Border Collie. Poodles and German Shepherds come in close second.

Working dogs like police K9s are highly trained – they can do all sorts of impressive tasks! Plus, they have emotional intelligence and empathy for humans. This makes them great therapy animals.

Amazingly, dogs have exceptional sensory abilities too! They can detect changes in scent, sound, and vibration. This means they can help people with disabilities or medical conditions.

Want to make your pup even smarter? Train them regularly, and give them stimulating toys like puzzle feeders. This not only boosts their mental abilities, but also strengthens your bond.

9. Cats

Source: dailypaws.com

Cats have an extraordinary sense of balance. This is due to their flexible spine and strong hind legs.

They communicate in many ways such as vocalizations, body language, and scent markings.

Plus, cats have remarkable visual memory. This helps them to recall their surroundings with ease.

Furthermore, felines possess an intuitive nature. This helps them to comprehend human emotions and react accordingly.

When it comes to pets, cats are absolutely one of the most intelligent creatures. Don’t miss out on understanding these fascinating creatures. So, take some time to learn about your furry friends and appreciate their smartness. You may be amazed!

10. Horses

Source: livescience.com

Equine Intelligence – Horses are clever! They can distinguish between different sounds, colors, shapes, and patterns. This makes them one of the smartest animals around.

Check out the skills they possess:

  • Spatial Cognition – Horses have great memory! They can remember the locations of food and water sources for years.
  • Learning Aptitude – Horses pick up new skills quickly using association training and operant conditioning.
  • Social Intelligence – Horses are social creatures and can recognize other horses and people.
  • Problem Solving – Horses use trial-and-error and observational learning to solve complicated issues.

Plus, they can read human emotions by looking at facial expressions and listening to vocal cues, with no need for words or smells!

To get the most out of your horse’s intelligence, use interactive toys in their daily routine, teach new skills using positive reinforcement, and provide a stimulating environment. Doing this will help them reach their full potential and foster a strong bond between you both.

Forget horsepower, why not opt for brainpower? Horses are wise animals and deserve to be recognized.

11. Rats

Rodents with sharp teeth and long tails are notorious as disease carriers. Still, they rank as some of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. They have been witnessed exhibiting complex emotions, recognizing familiar faces, and solving mazes. Plus, they can even learn from each other!

Rats have an impressive memory. They can link smells, sounds, or tastes to rewards and punishments. As a result, they are experts at navigating mazes and completing tasks quickly. Plus, their cognitive abilities exceed those of cats and dogs.

Surprisingly, rats display empathy. They will go out of their way to help other rats in trouble. Even in a group, they may refuse food if it means hurting another rat.

Recent research also indicates that rats can detect landmines as accurately as dogs. Trainers rewarded them with treats when they identified explosives.

Live Science Magazine states that rats have been proven to possess metacognition – a skill once thought exclusive to humans.

These small mammals deserve credit for their intelligence and empathy – traits that we often overlook due to our fear of diseases and rodents.

Move over, Einstein! Rats can figure out mazes and even drive cars. They’re smart and cute!

12. Squirrels

Source: npr.org

Studies have shown that squirrels possess a fantastic ability to remember the location of their food caches months later. They can categorize and adapt to changes in their environment.

Moreover, squirrels share info about predators with other members of their group. This allows them to recognize danger and avoid it.

An awesome example of their intelligence is when a mother squirrel was seen stopping traffic to help her baby cross a busy road. This reveals the selfless nature of these creatures.

Squirrels may be great at collecting nuts, but they still can’t remember where they parked their car!

In conclusion, squirrels are way smarter than many think. They should be appreciated for their intelligence; they are some of the smartest animals around. But hey, let’s see a bee solve a Rubik’s Cube!

13. Bees

Source: wkbn.com

The Honey Bee, or Apis mellifera, is an incredibly intelligent creature. They possess communication, learning, navigation, and mathematical abilities. Plus, they show selflessness!

Bees communicate through intricate vibrations and dance moves. They can count up to four and understand concepts like ‘less than’ and ‘greater than.’ They also have a special navigational system that uses landmarks, sun position, and polarized light.

Pro Tip: Plant flowers that attract bees in your garden. They will pollinate your plants and provide a safe place to work.

14. Ants

Source: euronews.com

Tiny creatures play an important part in keeping the environment balanced. Ants are amazing and have abilities that even humans can’t match. They can communicate through pheromones, sound, and touch.

Ants work together to solve complex problems and can find food sources quickly. Leafcutter ants even cut live plant leaves to grow fungus.

These critters are incredibly smart; they use tools and understand how to use them. For example, they use pebbles to cover their nests during floods.

We should not underestimate their intelligence and problem-solving skills. Maybe we could learn from them and become more efficient. Step aside humans, ants are the real deal!

Why did the ant go to school? To become an intelligent in-sect!

15. Orcas

Source: treehugger.com

Orcinus orca, better known as Killer Whales,’ are the apex predators of the sea. They possess great intelligence and complex social behavior. Here’s the scoop on these remarkable mammals:

Classification Mammal
Diet Fish, squid, seals, birds and even other whales
Behavior Hunt in packs, utilizing a complex communication system.
Life Span Up to 80 years in the wild (average of 30-50 years)
Range/Habitat: Oceanic waters worldwide; coastal areas from Arctic to Antarctic.

What’s more is that Orcas exhibit emotional depth and self-awareness. They can transmit cultures amongst pods and show empathy by aiding injured members.

Pro Tip: Steer clear of interacting with Orcas in captivity at theme parks. It’s bad for their physical and mental health.

16. Wolves

Source: thehill.com

Wolves are undeniably intelligent! They can communicate with their pack through body language, vocalizations, and scenting. Plus, they have awesome problem-solving abilities when it comes to hunting. And they can remember smells, sounds, and locations for years after being exposed to them. These creatures have also developed into successful predators due to impressive adaptations.

To study wolves without disturbing them, one must respect their territory and behavior patterns. Keeping a safe distance while observing them could help researchers understand wolf communication methods and dynamics within the pack. Move over chimps – bonobos are the new rulers of the animal kingdom and they’re sexier than ever!

Move over, dogs. Wolves are the real kings of the animal kingdom! Smart, strong, and always ready to howl at the moon (or their exes, we don’t judge).

17. Bonobos

Bonobos are one of the smartest primates on earth. They can solve problems and understand emotions. They communicate through vocalizations and gestures. Plus, they use complex social structures.

This species is known for its peace and empathy. They often resolve conflicts through sexual interactions instead of aggression.

Their physical traits set them apart too. Bonobos have a prominent brow ridge, a small head compared to chimpanzees, and dark pigmentation around their eyes.

The story of how they were discovered is amazing. Scientists thought they were chimpanzees or pygmy chimpanzees until the 1900s. Then, researchers spotted them in the Congo Basin forests.

Bonobos are incredibly intelligent. Plus, they have unique characteristics that make them distinct from other primates.

18. Deer

Source: nature.scot

Cervids are intelligent animals, with an incredible sense of smell and hearing. They are found in many habitats, due to their ability to adapt to changing environments. Hierarchical structures and communication through vocalizations and body language is part of their behavior.

They can remember the location of favored feeding sites and evaluate potential hazards before approaching new food sources. Complex social behaviors, such as bonding with family members, help them navigate through terrain. They also alter their behavior patterns to avoid predators and detect danger.

Cervids are special herbivores, with the ability to swim across waterways. This is due to their physical adaptations and innate intelligence, allowing them to stay afloat in challenging currents.

Pro Tip: To witness the smarts of deer, observe them at dawn or dusk when they are most active. Plus, don’t forget that llamas are clever too, even if they do spit!

19. Llamas

Source: woburnsafari.co.uk

Llamas possess the capability to remember their herdmates and humans for a prolonged time.

They possess acute powers of observation and can detect even minor changes in the environment.

Moreover, they are known to exhibit inquisitive behavior and problem-solving skills.

Their memory is remarkable – they can recall intricate details about their surroundings and learned behaviors for years.

In South America, llamas have a strong bond with indigenous cultures.

In olden days, they were domesticated for their wool and used to carry loads. Nowadays, they still hold a special place in the hearts of many Andean societies.

Sources at National Geographic have uncovered that llamas communicate through ear, tail and body movements which portray their sentiments.

Why didn’t the Koala wish to be part of the Smartest Animals list? Because it didn’t wish to be associated with humans.

20. Koalas

Source: treehugger.com

Koalas are native to Australia. They love eucalyptus leaves and have a sleepy persona. They don’t have a high intelligence, but they have special adaptations that help them survive.

Their diet is only made up of eucalyptus leaves. To conserve energy, they sleep for up to 20 hours. This makes them vulnerable to threats like habitat loss.

However, their sense of smell is advanced. They can tell different types of eucalyptus leaves apart by scent. This helps them pick the most nutritious leaves.

A study in Current Biology found that koalas have gut microbes. These microbes help them digest toxic compounds from eucalyptus leaves. One day, these microbes might be used to treat humans.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we determine an animal’s intelligence?

Animal intelligence is typically measured by cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, memory, communication, and the ability to use tools and adapt to new situations.

Are some animals smarter than others?

Yes, just like humans, intelligence can vary greatly among different animal species and even within the same species.

Do animals with larger brains tend to be smarter?

While brain size can be an indicator of intelligence in some cases, it is not always the case. There are many factors that can affect an animal’s intelligence, including brain structure, genetics, and environmental factors.

Can animals be trained to become smarter?

Yes, animals can be trained to improve their cognitive abilities. For example, many domesticated animals like dogs and cats can be trained to perform various tasks and tricks using positive reinforcement techniques.

Why is it important to recognize animal intelligence?

Recognizing animal intelligence can help us better understand and appreciate the complex behaviors and abilities of animals, which can in turn help us protect and conserve them.

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