Putting up a clear ranking of the top 5 smartest animals is almost difficult, in part because scientists cannot agree on a single criteria or method for measuring intelligence.

Even humans have developed their cognitive capacities in order to thrive in their environment. Self-awareness, creativity, abstract thinking, collaboration, and generosity are just a few of the numerous ways we measure intelligence in human beings. We also utilize arithmetic and communication abilities as markers.

Animal intelligence is likely to be underestimated because of the over-reliance on human-centric testing that occurs when scientists attempt to measure it. Great apes show the usual human indicators of intelligence, such as tool usage and communication, but intelligence has been detected in a broad variety of non-primate animals as well.

It’s difficult to compare the intelligence of different species in the animal world since intelligence tests are often designed for a single species and are difficult to reuse across several species.

What are the top 5 smartest animals? We’ve compiled the following list of the 14 smartest animals in the world (excluding humans) in reverse order of their relative intelligence with chimps securing first place among the top 5 smartest animals!


Lock-picking raccoons are among the most intelligent creatures on the planet, and they can remember the answers to problems for years.

Raccoons were given pebbles and a container of water that contained marshmallows by researchers at the University of Wyoming. Half of the raccoons found out how to access the marshmallows by adding stones to the container. That’s a level of problem-solving that would challenge even the most experienced of adults.

Gray Parrot

Although parrots are widely renowned for their ability to solve puzzles and imitate human speech, studies have revealed that in certain situations, parrots are able to grasp what the words they say truly mean.

Using the help of a Harvard psychologist, an African gray parrot called Alex was able to learn the meaning of more than a hundred words in English. These principles are clearly understood by Alex the African parrot in the video below, rather than being memorized.

Domestic Cat

A few cats have been taught to sit, roll, or do other tricks on command, much like domesticated dogs. Besides being difficult to teach, cats are also difficult to study because of their well-known indifference to things.

This lack of interest may be an indicator of their intelligence. Cats’ curiosity and caution, together with their full independence, are seen by some sociologists to be proof of their high intellect.


These birds, which are common in many major cities throughout the globe, are really very intelligent. Intelligence tests have been conducted on them often throughout the years, and they’ve come out on top in most of them.

Pigeons have been demonstrated to be able to identify themselves in a mirror, understand the relationship between items and images, and recognize particular human faces. We don’t know yet if the pigeon is a particularly bright bird or just one that has been over-examined. Whatever the case may be, they exhibit a wide range of talents that we would consider indicative of intelligence in any other animal.


Gardeners all across the globe fear the squirrel because of its tenacity, memory, and cunning. Because they’re essentially forest creatures, they’ve evolved to coexist with people and rely on a variety of feeding methods, including bird feeders and anything else they can find.

Rattlesnake fragrance has been found on the fur of certain Californian squirrels, who use it to disguise their own scent from predators. A further indication of their shrewdness is that while storing food for the winter, squirrels often create complex disguises to fool would-be burglars.


Toxicology researchers often employ the rat as a test subject because of its long history of abuse. Natural scholars, these bright rodents have a natural aptitude for learning and comprehending new ideas. Despite their diminutive size, they seem to be just as competent as dogs when it comes to solving difficulties.

When it comes to solving mazes, rats are masters, and once they learn a way they never forget it. Like many cognitive creatures, rats are empathic. Even when given the option of a reward instead, the great majority of rats in one research opted to aid another rat that was forced to tread water.


On this list of the world’s most intelligent creatures, vertebrates outnumber invertebrates by a wide margin. Only the octopus has the biggest brain of any animal, has sophisticated human brain characteristics such as folding lobes, and 60% of its neurons are located in its arms!

In addition to throwing pebbles and spraying water at above lights, an octopus in an aquarium was recorded picking up coconut shells to use as a kind of defense. If a person is intelligent, they can easily unscrew the lid of an airtight jar, and they can easily get out of mazes.

Domestic dog

People may connect to domesticated dogs because of their intelligence. They’re able to identify with and empathize with others’ feelings and symbolic language.

Dogs, compared to primates, exhibit more human-like behaviors and can follow and react to human motions like eye movements and pointing without instruction.

However, a dog’s ability to acquire new language is much greater than that of the ordinary person. When it came to fundamental English grammar, one border collie named Chaser could grasp short phrases like “to ball, take frisbee,” and recollect over 1,000 different objects’ names.


In the animal realm, pigs are among the most intelligent domesticated creatures. At a far earlier age than humans, they are able to navigate mazes, express and interpret emotions, and grasp the notion of recollection.

Such activities like computer gaming may be performed by pigs that are able to comprehend abstract representations and employ this ability. Using video displays, pigs have even outperformed chimps in several tests. It is also possible that the pigs’ ability to outcompete local animals is an indication of their intelligence.


Magpies, ravens, jays, and crows are all members of the highly intelligent Corvid family of birds. Crows are the only birds (and non-primate vertebrates) known to create tools — making probes and hooks from twigs and leaf stems to push into the tops of palm trees with their bare hands. It is solid evidence of a high animal IQ when young birds can imitate and learn from the tools of their elders. As fledglings, the crows of New Caledonia remain in their nests, allowing them more time to have their cognitive skills developed. This is why scientists think that New Caledonian crows are the most intelligent birds on the planet.

In order for them to be able to manage their surroundings, they need to be able to understand cause and effect, which some claim is the capacity of a five to seven-year-old human. It’s easy to understand why crows are regarded as the most intellectual birds when you consider their capacity to identify human faces and transmit complicated thoughts.


The elephant has the biggest brain of any land mammal, with the number of neurons like the human brain, making it a good indicator of intelligence.

Many people believe that elephants have good memory, are capable of extraordinary empathy, and can recognise themselves in the mirror if they look into one. In one trial, two elephants had to pull various ropes in sync in order to reach two food bowls, and they were able to work together.


Dolphins (and whales) have big brains compared to their bodies, making them at least as intelligent as birds and primates. In addition, the dolphin brain contains more folds in comparison to a human brain, which might indicate a greater level of intellect.

Only dolphins and whales can pass the self-awareness mirror test, and they are highly social creatures with a distinct sense of social identity. They are the only marine mammals that can. Like other intelligent animals, they employ tools like sponges to protect their gills while feeding on the bottom.

Several researchers think that dolphins’ whistles and clicks may truly comprise a complex language, with certain sounds functioning as dolphin names. Young dolphins, like many of the most intelligent creatures on the planet, remain close to their moms for many years to learn a wide range of life skills.


If you had been wondering about what are the top 5 smartest animals, please know that of all animals, orangutans rank as the second-smartest behind humans in terms of intelligence. With their own societies and a wide range of sophisticated technologies, chimpanzees are similar to humans in many ways. Each night, like gorillas, they build beautiful nests from branches and leaves to sleep in.

These primates are mostly solitary creatures that create strong but distant social relationships in their widely dispersed populations. For the first time, a non-human animal has been seen using ‘calculated reciprocity’ to evaluate the costs and advantages of gift exchanges and to keep track of them over time.


The Chimpanzees secure the first place in the top 5 smartest animals in the world. Our closest living cousins, the chimpanzees, have 99 percent gene overlap with humans and are thus among the most intelligent creatures in the world. In many aspects, their intellect is comparable to ours: they can manufacture and utilize tools, hunt in groups, communicate via sign language, and demonstrate traits like selflessness and altruism.

Groups of chimpanzees have their own cultures, which are distinct from those of other groups in terms of their distinctive inclinations and behaviors and their ability to communicate. When they’re in captivity, they may acquire human sign language by mimicking over 60 different movements.

Moreover, in several memory tests, chimpanzees have actually surpassed humans… If you were to choose between humans and chimpanzees, who would you choose?

To Sum it Up

This concludes our list of the world’s most intelligent animals.

Comparatively speaking, chimpanzees are quite clever when compared to most other animals. They can operate with tools, communicate with sophisticated vocalizations, and are excellent problem solvers. In spite of this, though, chimpanzees’ cognitive abilities are much inferior to our own. A variety of factors contribute to the superiority of the human brain over that of chimps, but latest research indicates that humans have less genetic control over their brain development than our primate cousins, which allows us to adapt and learn our environment with greater flexibility than our primate cousins.

What do you think – were there any creatures on this list that you didn’t expect? Alternatively, we may have overlooked a simple addition to our list of intelligent creatures. If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment area below!