11 Most Intelligent Animals in the World besides Humans

Here is a list of the most intelligent animals in the world. Intelligence is not just a characteristic found in humans; many animals have their own distinct forms of intelligence. From dolphins to birds, numerous species have been observed for their impressive cognitive abilities.

1. Dolphin

Dolphins (and whales) are widely acknowledged to be among the most intelligent animals in the world. They have enormous brains in comparison to their bodies. Surprisingly, there are more folds in their brain than in ours. Among the eight species, the bottlenose dolphin has the biggest brain.

Dolphins and whales are the only sea creatures that can recognize themselves and detect foreign marks on their bodies in a mirror. These super intelligent animals can identify scenes on television and remember things for a very long time. They can recognize calls from a partner after a 20-year absence. Many researchers believe that their sounds are a complicated language, with some of them functioning as dolphin names.

Dolphin is one of the most intelligent animals in the world

They are highly social animals with a strong sense of social identity. These mammals have a great ability in learning and mimicking. They can even express human-like emotions such as sympathy, sorrow, and happiness.

Like other highly intelligent creatures, these smartest aquatic animals can use tools. They have been observed to collect sponges to cover their snouts while searching for food on the seabed and among corals. Dolphins in different pods use mud to build fish traps.

2. Pigeon

Next on the smartest animals list is the pigeon. Pigeons, also known as “sky rats,” have been long used as messengers. It’s not just because of their natural homing abilities. It’s also because pigeons are incredibly intelligent creatures that can think, remember, and reason.

Pigeons are considered to be animals that are smarter than humans

These birds can recognize their reflection, demonstrating a complicated perception of self-awareness. They can remember certain persons and locations for months or even years. Their memory is so accurate that they have been used for generations to deliver messages over long distances.

To surprise you more, these species can identify the distinction between two humans in photographs, and recognize all the alphabet letters in English. They can even learn to tell the difference between Picasso’s and Monet’s art.

3. Elephant

Elephants are very intelligent animals, they are also one of the smartest animals in the world. Compared to other animals on land, these extremely clever creatures have the greatest brains. They also have 257 billion neurons in their brain. This number is 3 times more than our typical brain.

Like dolphins, elephants are among the most emotionally intelligent animals. They show their grief to the lost member of the herd or to other dead elephants they pass by. They even conduct a funeral ceremony for those elephants. To know how emotional elephants are, you can read more on our website.

An elephant never forgets. That’s what they said about the animal’s unbelievable memory. Just by basing on the scents of urine, they can identify up to 30 family members. They are also self-aware, which means they can recognize their reflection in a mirror.

Elephants are wise animals in the world

In the wild, they have been observed cleaning their food and using tools in different ways. These species also self-medicate. They will eat some particular leaves to treat disease and even trigger childbirth.

They may also collaborate to solve puzzles to get food. They can even move a block beneath the tree and uses it to reach fruit on the tree.

These intelligent animals are also among the few animals that engage in altruistic behavior. Elephants would willingly sacrifice themselves if they think it will allow the remainder of the herd or their offspring to flee to safety.

4. Crow

Many people think the parrot is the smartest bird in the world. However, they pale in comparison to corvids and the crow family.

Without hands and arms, crows can still create and use tools. They are the only bird species known to have this ability. They can create a hook to grab meat just by folding a piece of wire or they can utilize a hook and wire to gain access to difficult-to-reach food sources.

Crows in Japanese cities have been witnessed placing the nuts in the street and waiting for the passing cars to break the shells for them. All they have to do is wait for the traffic light to turn red, return to the street, and grab the nuts.

The crow is the most clever animal on air

Crows have an excellent memory. To avoid dangerous locations, the birds change their migration routes. They even know the schedules and routes of garbage trucks to steal food more successfully.

These intelligent animals have the greatest brain of any bird species and have demonstrated the ability to identify human faces. They also talk in sophisticated dialects and engage in pranks and tricks on each other.

In a study, their reasoning ability was comparable to that of a 7-year-old kid. With all the reasons above, crows are among the smartest animals in the animal kingdom.

5. Raven

Ravens have intelligence comparable to that of chimps and dolphins. They have been observed solving difficult puzzles in order to obtain food, and playing dead near an animal carcass to fool other birds into thinking the flesh is contaminated. They can even talk and imitate sounds they hear better than parrots.

This is intelligent species on earth

These highly intelligent animals can manage complex thoughts and plan ahead better than toddlers. This was proven by an experiment plan ahead.

According to recent research, ravens and crows can remember particular human faces. They can even bear grudges toward people who hurt them or deprive them of food.

6. Chimpanzee

Human is the smartest primate, the second and the third smart primate are the orangutan and the chimpanzee, respectively. Humans and chimpanzees share 98% of the same DNA. Their intellect is very similar to ours in many ways.

They hunt in groups, build and use tools (for example, to break open nuts and eliminate termites from logs), display compassion and sympathy, and can realize themselves in a mirror.

IQ of chimpanzee is as high as human’s

They communicate with each other by using their own sign language which includes approximately 60 various gestures. In captivity, they can understand and use the sign language of humans.

They can solve complex problems and apply psychological approaches to their own families. They will manipulate them in order to do specific tasks.

In chimpanzees’ sophisticated social groups, where they create strong connections and follow complicated hierarchical patterns, this intelligence is totally needed.

7. Orangutan

The great apes are thought to be the most intelligent animals after humans. Among them, orangutans are particularly gifted. This smartest ape, like the chimpanzee, can use tools, acquire sign language, and has sophisticated social structures that include rituals. What truly distinguishes them is their cognitive ability to comprehend the reason behind a particular action.

These species are the smartest animals besides humans

In comparison to other species, their tool use is unparalleled. They can be taught to employ a hammer and nails, and they can even learn to suck liquids using a tube. Like humans, these intelligent animals may consider costs and rewards while exchanging items.

8. Pig

Despite what you might think about pigs, they are among the world’s most intelligent animals. Pigs are more intelligent than other animals, they are even smarter than dogs. Our loyal friends have intellect similar to that of a toddler, whereas pigs have a far superior IQ.

At only six weeks old, they can handle mazes, express and understand feelings, and know what reflection is. A human child needs months to learn and know all of these.

These species can understand our instructions. Researchers taught young piglets to utilize mirrors to locate their hidden feeding bowls. Then, they put food bowls behind a solid barrier that was only seen in the mirror. Seven of the eight pigs could locate their meals.

Pigs are the most intelligent domestic animals

These intelligent animals have a remarkable ability to learn and use this knowledge for tasks such as playing computer games. These animals did it pretty well in some studies employing television screens.

To communicate, pigs use around 20 different sounds. Like humans, mother pigs sing to their offspring. However, they do it while their children are eating. Another indicator of their intelligence is their capacity to surpass native species wherever they are introduced.

These clever animals are highly sociable animals that identify with other pigs. They can also manipulate other pigs to obtain what they desire.

Pigs are animals with emotional intelligence. They also react to emotion and, when appropriate, demonstrate empathy, which is an exceptionally unusual ability in the animal world.

9. African Grey Parrot

Mentioning the smartest creatures on earth, we can’t miss the African gray parrot. It is believed to have the intelligence of a five-year-old child. Not only does this bird acquire human speech, but it also knows hundreds of vocabulary.

Intelligent wild animals on the sky

African grey parrots comprehend spatial awareness, identify and distinguish colors and shapes, and may understand the differences between larger and smaller, over and under, and different and similar.

The birds can even solve issues using logical thinking, like choosing the box with food. These birds can also collaborate to attain a favorite reward.

10. Octopus

On the list of intelligent animals in the world, the octopus is the only invertebrate animal. They are the smartest animals in the ocean.

The brain of an octopus is approximately as huge as the brains of certain mammals. About 60% of their neurons are not in their brain but also in their arms.

These intelligent solitary animals can use tools like mammals. They make create tools from coconuts and shells. Octopus can escape from their tanks and find their way back to the sea. To protect themselves, the octopuses were reported to bring coconut shells as shelters and use other species’ tentacles as a deadly weapon.

The giant Pacific octopus has 2240 suckers on its arms

In captivity, these intelligent sea animals can leave their tank and sneak into a nearby aquarium to eat fish, and then return to their tank. They wreak havoc on items outside of the tank by purposefully splashing water on them. They can open jars from both sides.

Octopus can also solve mazes and other puzzles. They can identify individual people even if they wear similar outfits. According to a journal, the animals actually acted differently near people who fed them compared to those who poked them with a spiky stick.

11. Rat

Rats are the smartest small animals. That’s the reason why they have been employed as laboratory research animals for many years. Despite having little and underdeveloped brains, their thoughts function quite similarly to humans, and their brain anatomy is also comparable.

They can solve mazes, remember routes, and once they know a navigation route, they rarely forget it. They can complete complex multi-step jobs and can learn from their mistakes. They can play hide and seek.

These intelligent animals can detect tuberculosis (TB) in humans and find landmines. APOPO, a Tanzania-based nonprofit group, has trained rats to find 18,300 instances of tuberculosis and eliminate 108,736 landmines. You can see more details here.

To look for mines in the area of a tennis court, a rat just need 30 minutes. But humans need 4 days to do this with a detector. The rat can also screen 100 sputum samples for tuberculosis in less than 20 minutes, whereas it’ll take a lab technician 4 days to do this.

Rats are also sociable creatures. They begin to show signs of despair and sadness when left alone. Because of these social and psychological characteristics, rats are among the most intelligent animals on earth.


This is the list of animals by intelligence. While humans are widely considered to be the most intelligent species, mammals, birds, and even invertebrates have impressive cognitive abilities capable of learning and problem-solving.

From chimpanzees using tools to solve complex problems, to dolphins creating their own language, these animals demonstrate that intelligence comes in many shapes and forms. Their ability to learn and understand the world around them has allowed them to thrive and survive in their habitats.


I'm so fascinated about animals and want to share with you these amazing, interesting, amusing and beautiful creatures. Hope you enjoy it!

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