Here Are The Top Most Intelligent Animals In The World

Top 5 Most Intelligent Animals

This list is in no particular order. All animals are intelligent, but some species excel in some skills that may not be present in others.

Humans, for example, are exceptionally skilled in using tools and technology. If we were to include the human species in this list, we would rank first. But our cousins will be taking a spot on the list for now.


PHOTO: Unsplash/Margaux Ansel

Probably the most known intelligent creature and sharing 99% of human DNA, chimpanzees are extremely smart and are able to use tools and medicine made out of dead bugs to aid them in their survival in the wild.

Additionally, there have been studies on how chimpanzees are able to communicate and play with other species and seek others’ company and display friendly exchanges with each other. This shows that chimpanzees are equipped with complex emotions and cognitive abilities.


PHOTO: Unsplash/Marthijn Brinks

Another animal that is famous for being intelligent and having outstanding memory is the elephant. They are fascinating creatures capable of mourning their dead and feeling empathy, and they are known to be protective of their friends, human and elephant alike. We also wrote a story about how a mother elephant bravely tried to reach out to humans in order to save her calf in this article.

Although they don’t have any hands, elephants are still able to use tools using their trunks. There’s been research that elephants use branches to swat away flies, use them as defense, and use them as a backscratcher of some sort for places that their trunks or tails cannot reach. Another amazing display of intelligence can be seen in the video below, where Kandula, an Asian Elephant at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, moved a cube to use as a stepping stone to reach a treat that was out of reach.


PHOTO: Unsplash/Vlad Tchompalov

Let’s take a dip in the water for this next animal. This slimy animal is known for their amazing problem-solving skills, a skill that made them an exceptional escape artist as well. Many examples of their crafty escapes can be seen in the video below.

So far, all the animals we’ve mentioned above use tools, and the octopus is no exception. They are also capable of repurposing trash found on the ocean floor, throwing out debris, or chucking items at other nearby octopuses, and some species are even known to carry the dangerous tentacles of the deadly Portuguese man o’ war as a weapon. And let’s not forget how these literally big-brained animals can camouflage and mimic other species to avoid predators or hunt their prey.

Also, another fun fact that makes these cephalopods more fun is that they seem to let their impulse win wherever they feel playful – such as punching their pals just because.


PHOTO: Unsplash/Talia Cohen

While we’re underwater, another animal on the list is the dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin specifically in terms of intelligence. They might not have the best reputation on the internet, but they are undoubtedly extremely smart. Dolphins are playful creatures, and they tend to mess with other species just for the heck of it. Some of their behaviors are quite human-like, such as reacting to something they find amusing and taking care of their skin. Also, have you heard about how dolphins use pufferfish to get high? Yup.

The cognitive abilities of dolphins are no joke, even thought to be greater than those of apes. The size of their brains are bigger than humans’, and they have incredible short- and long-term memory, which research proved when they showed that dolphins are able to recognize each other for 20 years or more.

African Gray Parrots

PHOTO: Unsplash/Miguel Almeida

This list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t add any of our feathered friends. One of the most intelligent animal on this planet rivals the cognitive abilities of a human child, and they’re also one of the few smartest animals that humans can have as pets.

Common with bird pets, African gray parrots know how to mimic, are able to learn human speech, and are able to have a large vocabulary. They can also learn a lot of tricks, as they understand spatial reasoning and can learn shapes and colors.

Watch what you’re saying in the presence of these clever little fellas though, or you might end up having troubles like this pet parent here.

See some more of the most intelligent animals in the video below!

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