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The Smartest Animals In The World

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Humans might be the most intelligent beings on our planet, but that doesn’t mean to say that other species are not smart. Many researchers have proven that some animals have incredible skills of communication, emotion and memory, many of which mirror those of humans.

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While there are some things we understand about animals and can relate to their psychology, there is so much more to be uncovered which allows them to surprise us all the time.


New Zealand robins

While human men can’t seem to understand what women want, the New Zealand robins seem to do quite well with this. They are excellent at reading their mate’s behavior and understand what she wants to eat and when.

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Quite similarly to us, the females like to change up their meals which leaves the robins trying to accommodate their appetites. Most times, the robin gets his mate’s food cravings spot on, something that human males should probably learn from!

Moray eels and groupers

Generally, fish aren’t considered to be the smartest of marine animals, but moray eels and groupers are an exception. Moray eels and groupers team up as a cooperative and efficient hunting team.

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The grouper recruits the moray eel to a hunt by shaking and then performing a headstand to indicate where the prey is hiding in the coral. The moray eel then prises the prey out of the tight space and the grouper quickly catches it in the open ocean. 

Emerald anole lizard

The emerald anole lizard might be small but it is incredibly crafty. They always attack their prey from above and researchers wanted to test their adaptation abilities so they put food in a hole with a cap on.

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Many of the lizards bit the cap off or they pushed it off with their snouts. Their ability to work through this challenge altered the way that reptiles are perceived as there was a misconception that reptiles acted upon instinct only. 

Ants

Individually, ants may not be the smartest of insects, but when they come together with their colony, they are extremely efficient. Ants have an incredible way of smelling different ‘jobs’ on each other so when one can’t smell a food ant, they immediately switch into that job.

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Ants tend to have bigger brains than other insects and when they come together with the colony, it’s as if nothing is impossible. This is part of the reason why you never really see a lone ant by themselves. 

Monitor lizards and red-footed tortoises

Monitor lizards are among the smartest reptiles and have shown an ability for problem solving, learning and understanding. In a study, the lizards were presented with clear cubes containing their prey.

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The lizards quickly worked out that they had to rotate the tubes to get to the prey. The red-footed tortoises learn off of watching other tortoises. They have social cues which they learn from others and they use environmental landmarks and strategies to find food. 

Jumping spider

Despite the jumping spider’s brain being the size of a sesame seed, it shows a remarkable amount of intelligence. Their vision is excellent and their use their skills to perfectly time their sneaky attacks on prey.

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The jumping spiders have an amazing way of finding their prey even if it is hiding and their quick reflexes allow them to move faster than others. Even if they lose physical sight of their food, they continue on their path until they eventually find it, and they do.

Blackspot tuskfish

The blackspot tuckfish is a remarkably resourceful and clever fish. This species of fish typically enjoy preying on crustaceans, snails, and clams, all of which happen to have a hard shell.

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In order to get through the shell, the fish use its mouth to hold its prey and repeatedly slam it into a rock until the shell eventually breaks. After the shell is broken the food inside comes out and the fish has a nice meal on its fins. 

Honey bees

Honey bees are actually known to be a clever and valuable species of earth. They live in colonies with a queen and when they sense food, they do a specific dance for their fellow bees. The official name for this is the waggle dance and it directs the colony to the food source.

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Scientists also discovered that bees can also count, add and subtract after showing them that blue meant addition and yellow meant subtraction. The results were astounding. 

Manta rays

Out of all the fish in the sea, the manta ray have the biggest brains. The majestic creatures have sections of their brain that the intelligence capacity is larger than average. To humans, they are curious and friendly and when presented with a mirror, unlike other animals, inspect themselves, instead of thinking it is another manta ray.

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Manta rays will go out of their way to interact with others in the ocean, showing their social skills and overall understanding of physical beings. 

Pigeons

Pigeons are considered rats with wings, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t quite the intelligent birds. Homing pigeons teach the baby pigeons about the best flying routes, something that is passed from generation to generation.

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Pigeons can recognise all 26 letters of the English language as well as being able to conceptualise. For this reason, they are usually included in experiments concerned with animal cognition. They can also be taught relatively complex actions and different sequences to respond with. 

Squirrels

The brains of squirrels are mostly shown when they bury their food. If the squirrel senses that someone may be watching, it would pretend to bury the food but actually hide it somewhere on its body.

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After this, it would actually run off elsewhere to bury the food. As for finding their food, squirrels were excellent at problem solving and actually found their food quite easily. Although they are seen as pests, squirrels are actually smart animals.

Horses

For centuries, horses have been adored and appreciated by humans. Owning a horse has always been a status symbol as they are considered prestigious animals. Horses and humans have developed a special relationship and deep understanding of one another, one of the reasons why humans can ride them in racing.

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Horses can understand different symbols, signals and communicate in certain ways. Horses have been known to understand stable bolts in order to free themselves from fields and are fast learners in training. 

Rats and mice

The reason that rats have been used by scientists in labs is due to the fact they are smart and social, just like humans. Rats have been known to be altruistic as a result of being social beings.

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In experiments, rats learned how to free their mate from a trap and even shared their chocolate with the others. The small rodents can have feelings of joy or even become depressed, but they thoroughly enjoyed being tickled by humans. 

Cats

It has been said that cat brains are more advanced than dog brains in certain situations. A cat’s cerebral cortex which processes information, makes decisions and solves problems is incredibly complex and has 140 million more neurons than dogs.

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Cats are quite impulsive and have been known to get themselves into bizarre situations. In addition, owners will quite happily let their cats roam the streets while they are out and they will come home without a problem.

Dogs

There is a reason dogs are truly man’s best friend. Dogs are incredibly smart and their unique bond with humans are part of the reason they are valued in police forces, search and rescue, guiding the blind and support. As much as we take care of dogs, they also take care of us.

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Dogs have the ability to solve problems on their own, understand how others are feeling and respond accordingly and communicate with others, showing their cognitive abilities. 

Octopodes

They might be clear and squishy, but octopuses are incredibly smart animals. They, together with squid and cuttlefish are the smartest invertebrates around. Many aquariums have struggled in keeping octopus in their enclosures as they are so crafty and have regularly found a way out of them.

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They can open jars, solve puzzles and are always curious creatures. Octopuses have been known to use coconut shells as hideouts in the ocean, often carrying them along the sea floors and uses them as shields. 

Racoons

Racoons might be an absolute pain at the best of times, but their crafty and annoying nature stems from the fact they are very intelligent. They are always running into houses to steal food and forever scavenging in trash cans, smelling food from miles away.

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When racoons smell food, they will pretty much stop at nothing until they get it. This is why you will often find them hiding in the strangest of places, waiting for the moment the coast is clear to get to food. 

Baboons

While they are not apes and don’t have the same intelligence level as them, baboons are smart in their own way. They have an understanding of numbers and math when put to the test by researchers. They are extremely social animals, always seen in packs and capable of both friendship and strategic interactions.

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They have been known to keep long term relationships with other baboons who are not their family. Baboons are able to adapt to certain situations and different environments well. 

Whales

Whales are truly majestic creatures who glide through the ocean so beautifully. They have complex social lives within their schools. Sperm whales communicate with one another in local dialects, quite similar to humans, as well as being able to learn from each other.

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Whales often demonstrate altruistic behavior with humpback whales objecting to orcas killing gray whale calves. The complex issues between them is seen as intelligence by scientists. 

Read more: the most powerful animals in the wild

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