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13 Smartest Animals In The World


Welcome to the Smartest Animals in the World!

More often than not, humans underestimate the intelligence of animals. But, despite the lack of a shared language or vocalizations, humans have interacted with various species.

In fact, many animals exhibit complex thought patterns comparable to those of human children, even if the exact nature of their thoughts remains unknown. Additionally, these animals have survived and adapted to the changing environment over thousands of years.

That being said, these animals vary in size and shape, occupying diverse environments such as the African plains and the deep seas.

These creatures can develop advanced ideas and problem-solving skills to navigate their daily existence, despite the outward appearance that some animals may not possess much cognitive activity

On that note, 13 of the World’s smartest animals are listed below. While not exhaustive, it provides insights into what to anticipate when encountering these animals in the wild.

#1 Elephants


The first entry on our list of the World’s smartest animals is the elephant. Elephants are renowned for having excellent memory and exceptionally high levels of emotional intelligence. 

These enormous creatures are so sophisticated that they can discern between several human languages.

In fact, researchers from the University of Sussex videotaped two guys speaking identical sentences in two different languages as part of their investigation.

One of the men was from the Kamba ethnic group, while the other was from the Maasai ethnic group in the area, which had a reputation for shooting wild elephants. 

The elephants hurdled together and became protective as the Maasai man stated, “Look over there, elephants are approaching.” However, the elephants showed no reaction when the man from the Kamba tribe said the same sentence.

Regardless of the language they hear, elephants have figured out which phrases should provoke a response from them. At the end of the day, their ability to memorize human sentences and words makes them one of the smartest animals in the World. 

#2 Orangutans

Female orangutan portrait. Image via depositphotos.

Orangutans have the extraordinary ability to speak about the past. As a result, they are one of the smartest animals in the World. In fact, they have one common ability that they share with humans, known as displaced reference. 

Scientists at the University of Saint Andrew’s in Scotland examined a group of orangutans to identify how they would behave in their group when they believed they had spotted close predators. However, in reality, these predators were the scientist dressed up in predator costumes. 

After spotting the “fake” predators, the orangutans would be overwhelmed with terror, start to hide their young, and alert the other orangutans that they had spotted predators close by. Such an ability to react to danger is why they are among the most intelligent primates in the World. 

#3 Cats

sand cat desert

Due to their capacity to maintain their independence even after domestication, cats have long been thought to be smarter than dogs. Their superior memory explains their greater perception of intellect. 

Cats have a 200 times stronger memory than dogs and can recall the details of a day for up to 16 hours. 

Although dogs may be better at helping people, cats have much more sophisticated brains. Dogs only have 160 neurons in their brains compared to cats’ 300 neurons, making them one of the smartest animals in the World. 

#4 Gorillas

Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park

To protect themselves from all of their natural enemies, gorillas have evolved incredibly intricate social structures called gorilla battalions. They have strong emotional intelligence and self-awareness.

Koko the Gorilla is the only Gorilla with a greater reputation for intelligence. Koko understood more than one thousand signals and more than two thousand spoken words.

The western lowland gorilla served as the symbol of The Gorilla Foundation and as the mascot for animal rights and environmental protection agency.

She encountered various individuals over her 46 years, including the late actor Robin Williams, with whom she forged a close friendship. 

In fact, she started to cry when her caregivers informed her about Robin Williams’s demise, and she didn’t stop for a while. She is evidence alone that Gorillas are one of the smartest animals on Earth. 

#5 New Caledonian Crows


The New Caledonian crow is the smartest bird amongst all crows, ravens, and rooks, all of which are smarter than most other birds.

During a test to see how effectively crows could utilize tools, one crow named Betty served as a representative of the New Caledonian crows.

To experiment with crow’s intelligence, researchers at Oxford University used a piece of meat too large for Betty to fit inside a tube.

She decided to remove a length of wire still in her cage and bend the end of the wire with a nearby object.

Betty had fashioned a hook out of a wire by using the item in the cage to make another tool, which she then used to extract the food from the narrow tube. This is reason enough to categorize the New Caledonian Crow as one of the smartest animals in the World.

#6 Dolphins

Dolphin with spots
Atlantic spotted dolphin. Image via Alastair Rae from London, United Kingdom, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dolphins’ ability to solve complicated puzzles, maintain a complex social structure, comprehend human relationships, and even teach other dolphins difficult tasks taught to humans has led to claims that they are among the world’s smartest animals

Their brains weigh around 3.5 lbs., making dolphins among the animals with the greatest brain-to-body ratios, second only to humans.

Dolphins’ temporal lobes are where they process language and auditory information, unlike humans and primates.

Their highly evolved paralimbic systems are what enable them to comprehend and read the emotions of others around them. These marine creatures’ sophisticated brains are what give them their distinct emotional intelligence.

It enables them to comprehend complex ideas, develop their own societies, comprehend the significance of communicating via symbols, and identify themselves in mirrors.  

#7 Goats


Although they may not appear to be the sharpest creatures in the barnyard, goats really possess a sophisticated social system and a strong memory. 

Goats are believed to be just as intelligent as dolphins, whales, and other highly intelligent creatures. 

In fact, researchers from the Institute of Agricultural Science in Switzerland and the Queen Mary University of London collaborated to develop a task for goats to demonstrate their intelligence. 

The goats were trained to pull a rope with their teeth, then lift another lever with their noses, all while eating fruit in a plastic box. Nine goats who participated in the test could pick up the skill after just four trials.

When the nine trained goats were tested ten months later, almost all of them could obtain the fruit in under a minute. Only one goat couldn’t recall how to obtain the fruit. This is evidence enough to show that goats are one of the smartest animals in the World. 

#8 Parrots


A parrot’s best-known ability is to learn words from human language and repeat them back with uncanny precision.

Because of their DNA, parrots can think abstractly, and their brains grow in a manner resembling that of humans. They are very friendly creatures that require other living things to interact and spend time with. If not, they experience severe depression.

In addition to talking, parrots exhibit other common intelligent acts, such as utilizing tools to solve problems. They can learn to converse about various settings and remember up to one hundred words, sometimes more.

If you don’t believe us, adopt a parrot and try to teach it some words. You’ll be surprised how quickly a parrot picks up your spoken words. Research says some parrot breeds are smarter than others.

For example, the African Grey Parrot is one of the most vocal parrots you can adopt. They have a knack for mimicking words quicker than other breeds. This is why they also cost a lot of money to purchase. 

#9 Dogs

dog top 10 animals that saved lives

Dogs are incredibly loyal and clever, making them the ideal human companions. The best dog breeds can learn human language, solve problems, and recall cause-and-effect relationships. 

Dogs have served a variety of functions throughout history that are imprinted in their DNA thanks to their capacity to carry out complicated, chained orders. For example, dogs have been used for sniffing criminals, guarding, herding, and hunting for thousands of years. 

Just look at service and police dogs and their ability to observe others around them, and you’ll realize why they are considered one of the smartest animals in the World. 

These canines are trained to perform tasks that people are incapable of, such as sensing impending seizures and hearing heart abnormalities. For example, online dog training with buttons that the dogs can press is the newest craze among dog owners.

No wonder they are dubbed as man’s best friend!

#10 Rats

rat - how long do rats life

Despite having tiny brains and bodies, rats are one of the smartest animals in the world. Rats have demonstrated preferences for certain things and individuals, much like other pets

They will purr like cats or even squeak a high-pitched laugh when they are delighted to have visitors. They use a process known as metacognition, or making judgments based on what they know or do not know, instead of acting arbitrarily.

That said, rats are easier to train than typical house rodent species, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, and they frequently want to please their owners.

Rats learn to imitate a particular behavior quickly if they are rewarded enough. However, your rat will be happier if you teach it more tricks since it will have more mental stimulation and opportunities to earn more rewards.

If you don’t believe us, watch the movie ratatouille, and you’ll see that the movie somewhat depicts how intelligent a rat can be. Of course, it won’t start cooking five-star meals for you. However, the film writers put much thought into the movie’s premise. 

#11 Pigs

Wild Boar Image via Depositphotos.

Pigs are among the smartest animals today, making them even smarter than dogs. They have good spatial awareness and can recall cause-and-effect relationships like dogs. 

In fact, their ability to recall what happened in specific areas, particularly when it comes to seeking or obtaining food, is influenced by their sense of direction.

Pigs can quickly trot back home even after traveling great distances. They are roughly as intelligent as three-year-old toddlers when compared to humans. Pigs like rolling about in the mud, but they also recognize the value of cleanliness.

So, the next time you eat that delicious piece of bacon, know that there was an intelligent animal that made it possible for you. 

#12 Chimpanzees

two chimps

On the internet, chimpanzees are frequently shown behaving like young people, caring for pets like dogs or bunnies, and driving around in toy cars.

They can experience various emotions, form bonds with animals of many kinds, and speak fluently to people and other animals. Chimpanzees frequently imitate how young children spend their days and are roughly as intelligent as a five-year-old child.

In fact, these creatures can cry when they are sad and laugh when they are having fun.

When someone else has what they desire, they get envious and turn to touch to demonstrate their concern for their tribe.

Chimpanzees are not only able to distinguish between various objects, but they are also able to give those items rational names.

So, the next time you visit your local zoo, remember that these animals have an excellent understanding of how you behave in front of them. 

#13 Otters


Otters are gregarious creatures with advanced social systems and keen curiosity. Families and clans are the two major social groupings that otters will belong to. 

Mothers and their young form groups called families to protect one another from predators and acquire the resources they require to thrive.

Male adult groupings known as clans will only reunite with their families during mating season. “Olfaction” is a special form of communication used by otters to identify the location of their territory.

They leave their scent on their digging, haulouts, rolling sites, and sleeping areas. So, the next time you decide to adopt a pet otter, know that they are smarter than what you give them credit for. 

The Final Words on Smartest Animals in the World

YouTube video

Humans are extremely proud of their capacity for thought. If we approach it from this angle, the smartest animal on Earth will always be us, humans. However, intelligence is not a limited concept. 

As a result, some other creatures may also be quite intelligent. The animals on this list have evolved over thousands of years and learned to survive and successfully adapt to the modern environment. 

Therefore, keep in mind that there are animals in the world with intelligence levels above par with humans.

So, read the article above, and you’ll realize there is more to animals than we think. And we should give them a ton of credit for surviving on their own for thousands of years. 

For more blogs featuring special wildlife, have a look at the top 10 cutest animals of 2022 and the most endangered animals.

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