Top 10 Smartest Animals in the World

For hundreds of thousands of years human beings have been set apart from the rest of the creatures on earth due to our apparent superior intelligence. No other species on the earth can do several things that a human can do such as use language, entertain abstract thoughts, produce art, etc. However, all these things have only been made possible through evolution as humans have adapted to various environments to become the intelligent and diverse people we are today. Given elements of evolutionary continuity between many different species, it would seem strange to see no aspects of intelligence at all in other species.

10. Rats

female rat

Rats are the most hated pests because they have the tenancy to spread disease. Between 1340–1400, Europe experienced the most deadly disease outbreak in history when the Black Death, the infamous pandemic of bubonic plague, hit in 1347, killing a third of the human population (threat: rats). But their lack of sterilization has no effect on their cleverness. Scientists use them as test subjects for studies eventually try on human beings. They are the best at finding solutions to puzzles and mazes.

9. Bees


Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, and are known for their role in pollination and for producing honey and beeswax. They exhibit some of the most fascinating abilities in certain areas. The “waggle dance” they do in their hives to signal nectar location to other bees is a very complex series of movements which relays a large amount of information. After viewing this dance, bees can fly off to find the nectar source with the accuracy of a few miles, even if the source is miles away from the hive.

8. Octopus


The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. They have two eyes and four pairs of arms and, like other cephalopods, they are bilaterally symmetric. The Octopus is one of the most intelligent sea creatures in the world. This animal is also one of the most misunderstood, but scientists are constantly discovering new and smart ideas that octopuses possess. They love to play, solve problems and navigate through mazes. The only downside is that they have a  short-term memory.

7. Elephants


It’s no coincidence that elephants can be found in many circuses around the world performing tricks. They are very smart animals. The brain is very heavy and weighs approximately 5 kilos or more. Other large mammals, such as rhinos and hippos don’t come close to possessing such qualities. Scientific research has proven that elephants have the ability to use different objects in creative ways without any scaffolding needed. They have been known to clean their food and use tools in various ways in the wild, and they can also follow human prompts and requests easily.

In 2010, while taking a stroll in his backyard, one elephant named Kandula smelled something good to eat. The scent pulled his attention upward. There, seemingly suspended in the air, was a sprig of bamboo decorated with some juicy cantaloupe and honeydew. Stretching out his trunk, he was able to get the fruit and break off a piece of the branch, but the rest of the tasty leaves remained on the tree and out of his reach. Without hesitation he marched straight to a large plastic cube in the yard, rolled it just beneath the hovering bamboo and used it as a step stool to pull the whole branch out, so that he could have his meal.

6. Squirrels


You know how hard it is to install a bird feeder in your backyard and not attract the squirrels It takes a lot to keep these animals away- no matter what you do, they figure out how to steal a snack. Frustrating as it may be, it’s just one indication of how smart and cunning these critters are. Squirrels are quick studies, capable of learning by observation. In a study performed at the University of Exeter, squirrels would watch another squirrel remove a nut from one of two pots. The squirrels learned quickly that if the squirrel they watched took the nut, the pot would be empty and that going for the opposite pot was the better bet.  Squirrels bury nuts in order to have access to them later, a skill that’s not very helpful if they can’t remember where they hid them. Squirrels have shown they are capable of remembering where they have buried nuts.

5. Pigs


Some scientists consider the pig as the most intelligent domestic animal of all. They have been known to trick other pigs whilst maintaining all the food for themselves. They can even use mirrors to find food. A study in the 1990s showed that they could manipulate a cursor with their snouts which they then used to distinguish between markings they recognised and markings they were seeing for the first time. They accomplished this task as quickly as chimps.

4. Crows


Crows are crafty tool users, constructing implements out of twigs and other bits of debris to grab food in difficult to reach places. One study demonstrated that certain crows were able to craft quite sophisticated tools, e.g. manipulating a length of wire into a hook shape at the end to snare the food hidden at the end of a tube.

3. Portia Labiata Jumping Spider

Portia labiata

Portia labiata is a jumping spider found in Sri Lanka, India, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, Singapore, Java, Sumatra and the Philippines. In this medium-sized jumping spider, the front part is orange-brown and the back part is brownish.  It have demonstrated amazing abilities in laboratory tests and have been termed as the smartest bugs in the world.  They perform above normal intelligence on problem solving tasks.  One of their distinct skills is luring other spiders from their webs for food.  To do this they will pluck out rhythms at the corner of a web to mimic a trapped bug or insect intruder.

2. Dolphins


Dolphins are cetacean mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from 1.2 m (4 ft) and 40 kg (90 lb) (Maui’s dolphin), up to 9.5 m (30 ft) and 10 tonnes (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons) (the orca or killer whale). For the longest time, dolphins have been the most adorable and one of the most loved sea animals in the world. Their intelligences has everything to do with the adoration. Their brain to body mass ratio is second to humans and larger than other animals. They often complete complex play behaviors and produce creative responses. They have also perfected many character traits, such as self-awareness and empathy. There have been many known stories where dolphins rescued human swimmers in need of help.

1. Apes


This is a species which is closest to humans in every way. In fact, apes share 99% of our genetic makeup. Their intelligence levels are not that far behind either. Apes can perform feats of intelligence which have included problem solving and reasoning. They have also been observed mourning the death of their kin. Apes are always at the forefront of any discussion of animal intelligence. They are indeed our closest relatives.