18 Smartest Animals That Will Amaze You With Their Intelligence

Written By Jill Taylor

There are so many incredible animals that wow researchers and fans alike and leave us feeling so amazed. They solve tough problems and show off impressive communication skills, proving they’re way smarter than we thought. Here are 18 of the smartest animals known to humans.


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Vallarta explains that dolphins are able to solve complex problems and interact socially, making them one of the smartest animals. Dolphins are great communicators, using clicks and whistles to talk and they can even recognize themselves in mirrors, showing they have self-awareness. Plus, they use tools and teach their young how to hunt, proving they’re excellent problem-solvers.


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Not many people know how intelligent these underwater creatures are but octopuses are amazing at solving problems and escaping from tricky spots. Octopuses can navigate mazes, open jars, and blend into their surroundings. They can learn, remember, and even tell different people apart.


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One animal that’s incredibly smart is the chimpanzee, which is known for using and making tools. They use sticks to get insects from nests and show clever problem-solving skills. They also have advanced social behaviors, like forming friendships and empathy, which highlight their complex thinking and emotions.


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There’s no denying that cats are known for their independence and problem-solving abilities. They can learn through observation and mimicry, opening doors and finding hidden objects. Their ability to navigate complex environments and remember the locations of food sources showcases their intelligence and adaptability.


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We’ve all heard the saying that elephants never forget, and that’s because they have amazing memories, remembering places and people for years. They show empathy by comforting friends in distress and use tools and work together, showcasing their intelligence. This makes them one of the cleverest animals on land.


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You can count on a crow to get out of a sticky situation, as they’re such smart birds, known for using specific tools and figuring out problems. They can figure out tricky puzzles, recognize people, and even use traffic lights to crack nuts. The intelligence of a raven is like that of great apes, showing they can adapt and learn really well.


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It’s hard to believe that squirrels are known for their impressive memory and problem-solving skills, especially when it comes to hoarding food. They can remember the locations of hundreds of buried nuts and use deceptive tactics to protect their caches from thieves. Their adaptability and cunning make them standout foragers.


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More than just city birds, pigeons have an extraordinary ability to navigate over long distances, often returning home from hundreds of miles away. They can recognize themselves in mirrors and understand abstract concepts like space and time. Their impressive memory and navigational skills have made them invaluable in various studies.


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One animal that’s seriously underestimated is the pig, which is actually a really clever animal. They can build social networks, figure out puzzles, understand symbols, and even play video games with joysticks. Their intelligence is similar to that of dogs and primates, showing just how clever they are. Their abilities are often underestimated.


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We’ve all heard a parrot say “hello” before, and that’s because they can mimic human speech and sounds. Beyond vocal imitation, they exhibit problem-solving skills, such as unlocking cages and completing puzzles. These birds also demonstrate the ability to understand concepts like shapes, colors, and numbers, highlighting their advanced cognitive functions.


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These animals are so smart that scientists often study them because they’re great learners and have good memories. Rats can find their way through mazes, solve puzzles, and even show empathy by helping trapped friends. Their quick learning and adaptability make them useful for understanding behavior in experiments.


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Not only are they lovable pets, but dogs are also super loyal and easy to train, as they’re so smart. They get our emotions, learn lots of words, and can do complex tasks. Service dogs are a great example; they help people with specific needs, showing off their problem-solving and adaptability skills.


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Another animal that has a high amount of intelligence is the raven, they can plan for future events, figure out intricate problems, and use tools. Their social behaviors, such as playing tricks on each other and working together to achieve goals, further demonstrate their sophisticated cognitive abilities.


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You may already know that orangutans are adept at using tools to obtain food, such as using sticks to extract insects or leaves as umbrellas. Their problem-solving skills are advanced, and they can learn through observation and imitation. This intelligence helps them adapt to changing environments and find innovative solutions.


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These animals don’t just pollinate. Bees display collective intelligence through their complex hive activities and communicate using a “waggle dance” to convey information about food sources. Remarkably, they can solve mathematical problems, such as optimizing routes for nectar collection, which demonstrates their advanced cognitive abilities despite their small brains.


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The well-known “horse whisperer” saying was born because these animals are known for their emotional intelligence, capable of reading human body language and responding to subtle cues. They can learn complex tasks and remember them for years. Their ability to form strong social bonds and communicate within their herds highlights their sophisticated social and cognitive skills.


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Even though we see them as annoying insects, ants exhibit extraordinary collective intelligence, working together to solve complex problems. They build intricate nests, farm fungi, and even engage in warfare with other colonies. Their ability to coordinate and communicate through chemical signals showcases their advanced social structure and problem-solving abilities.


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As part of the ape family, bonobos are highly intelligent primates with advanced social and emotional capabilities. They use tools, communicate through a variety of vocalizations and gestures, and exhibit empathy and altruism. Their matriarchal social structures and cooperative behaviors highlight their sophisticated cognitive and emotional development.

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