Top 10 Smartest Animals in the World: Ranked

As humans, we have always been fascinated with the animal kingdom. From their physical abilities to their intelligence, animals never cease to amaze us. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the top 10 smartest animals in the world and rank them based on their intelligence. We will begin by defining what intelligence is in animals and then delve into our list of the top ten smartest animals. From an octopus’s ability to solve puzzles to a border collie’s excellent memory and problem-solving skills, we’ve got it all covered. We’ll also touch upon some honorable mentions that are equally fascinating. So, join us on this journey as we explore the wonders of the animal kingdom and discover which creatures are among the smartest in the world!


Intelligence in animals has long fascinated scientists and researchers, and it can be measured in various ways such as problem-solving abilities, social behavior, and communication skills. With new research and discoveries, the ranking of the smartest animals is constantly evolving. Some of the smartest animals are capable of using tools, exhibiting self-awareness, and communicating with each other. Studying animal intelligence helps us gain insights into our own evolutionary history and informs conservation efforts to protect these remarkable creatures. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 smartest animals in the world, ranked according to their intelligence level.

Defining Intelligence in Animals

Animal intelligence can be difficult to define, as there are many factors that can contribute to it. Some common measures include the ability to problem-solve, exhibit social behavior, and communicate effectively with others of their species. It’s important to understand that different types of intelligence may be more valuable in certain situations than others, and each animal has its own unique strengths and abilities. When ranking the smartest animals in the world, it’s essential to consider all these factors and take a holistic approach to evaluating intelligence across multiple species.

10: Octopus

The octopus is an incredibly intelligent animal, with a range of impressive abilities that set it apart from other creatures. Notably, the octopus has been observed using tools to solve problems and catch prey, showcasing its advanced problem-solving skills. In addition to their tool use, octopuses are also known for their remarkable camouflage abilities, which allow them to blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Despite their relatively short lifespan in the wild, octopuses continue to fascinate researchers and animal lovers alike with their impressive intelligence and adaptability.

9: Grey Parrot

Grey parrots are fascinating creatures that have been captivating humans for centuries. These intelligent birds not only have the ability to mimic human speech, but they also possess cognitive abilities similar to those of a young child. Their intelligence has been observed in the wild, where they use tools to crack open nuts and solve other complex problems. Grey parrots are highly social animals that require mental stimulation and interaction to thrive. With proper care, these birds can live up to 50-60 years in captivity, making them lifelong companions for their owners.

8: Rat

Rats may not be everyone’s favorite animal, but they are undoubtedly one of the smartest. These adaptable creatures have been used in scientific research to study human behavior and learning, thanks to their exceptional memory and problem-solving abilities. Rats can navigate complex mazes with ease and use their sense of smell to locate food and avoid danger. Additionally, they are highly social animals that exhibit empathy towards others, forming close bonds with other rats in their community. Despite their bad reputation, rats play an essential role in maintaining the ecosystem as scavengers and seed dispersers.

7: Crow

Crows are remarkable creatures with an exceptional ability to apply their intelligence for creative problem-solving. Their use of tools is particularly noteworthy, as they have been observed crafting unique tools to achieve specific tasks. In addition, crows have impressive communication skills and can distinguish between different human faces, displaying a level of social intelligence that rivals some primates. These traits enable crows to adapt quickly to new environments and overcome obstacles in ways that few other animals can match, making them one of the smartest animals on the planet.

6: Pig

Pigs have some of the highest cognitive abilities of any animal, comparable to that of a three-year-old human child. They possess remarkable long-term memories and can remember objects and other pigs for years. Pigs’ intelligence has been demonstrated through their ability to learn complex tasks such as playing video games and using mirrors. Additionally, pigs are social animals with strong emotional bonds with their family members, making them highly empathetic beings. Despite their exceptional intelligence, they are often raised in poor conditions on factory farms, leading to ethical concerns around their treatment.
“We still underestimate the smarts of pigs and farm animals in general,” says Nawroth to CNN. “As this avenue of research, farm animal cognition, is taking off steam, we will likely see more research on more sophisticated learning and cognitive skills of farm animals over the next years.” smithsonianmag



5: Elephant

Elephants are one of the most intelligent animals on Earth, possessing cognitive abilities that rival those of primates. These gentle giants exhibit numerous behaviours associated with advanced intelligence, such as self-awareness, empathy and problem-solving skills. With a brain weighing around 5kg, they have a remarkable memory, enabling them to remember individuals and locations for years. Elephants are also known to use tools in the wild, using sticks to scratch themselves or as a tool to dig for water. Their complex social structures and communication methods make them truly fascinating creatures that demonstrate the power and diversity of animal intelligence.

4: Dolphin

Dolphins are truly remarkable creatures that have captured the attention of humans for centuries with their high intelligence and complex social behavior. Not only do they have large brains relative to their body size, but they also exhibit self-awareness and demonstrate problem-solving skills in the wild. Through communication methods such as whistles, clicks, and body language, they have been observed working together to solve tasks and even using tools. These fascinating abilities make dolphins one of the smartest animals in the world.

3: Orangutan

Orangutans are fascinating creatures with an impressive reputation for their intelligence and problem-solving skills. They have been observed using tools in the wild to extract insects from trees and even creating makeshift umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain. These great apes have a high level of social intelligence, learning from others in their community and displaying empathy towards other orangutans in their group. Their ability to adapt to different environments is remarkable, making them one of the smartest animals on our planet.

2: Chimpanzee

Chimpanzees are among the most intelligent animals on Earth, second only to Border Collies. They exhibit advanced cognitive abilities and have been observed using tools, communicating with each other using sign language and even demonstrating empathy and cooperation. Chimpanzees also possess self-awareness, a trait that was once believed to be exclusive to humans. Their intelligence has enabled them to adapt effectively to their environment, which is why they continue to thrive in the wild despite facing numerous threats from habitat loss and hunting.

1: Border Collie

Border Collies are widely regarded as one of the smartest animals in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. These dogs are highly trainable and can learn complex tasks quickly, making them a popular choice for various roles such as herding, search and rescue, and even therapy work. In addition to their problem-solving skills, Border Collies have an innate herding instinct that makes them excellent at controlling livestock. However, they require adequate exercise and mental stimulation to keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom.

Honorable Mentions

When discussing the smartest animals in the world, it’s impossible to overlook some of the other impressive species that narrowly missed the top 10. Elephants, for example, are known for their emotional intelligence and have been observed mourning their dead. Octopuses, on the other hand, have been observed using tools to solve complex problems. Similarly, pigs have shown a surprising level of cognitive abilities, including self-awareness and empathy. And let’s not forget about ravens, who have been known to use tools in the wild to obtain food. Overall, these honorable mentions are a testament to the vast diversity of intelligent animals that inhabit our planet.


Raccoons may not be the first animal that comes to mind when you think of intelligence, but these creatures are surprisingly clever. They have been observed using tools, such as rocks, to open containers and access food. Furthermore, raccoons possess a great memory and can remember solutions to problems for up to three years. Their adaptability skills also make them capable of thriving in different environments. Despite their reputation as pests, raccoons deserve recognition for their impressive problem-solving abilities and intelligence.


Squirrels are an incredible example of how intelligence can exist in small creatures. Known for their impressive memory and problem-solving skills, squirrels have been observed using tools and developing complex strategies to obtain food. Their intelligence has even been compared to that of a small primate, highlighting just how capable these rodents are. With excellent spatial awareness, squirrels can navigate through complex environments with ease, making them adaptable to changing environments and able to thrive in urban areas. Overall, the squirrel’s impressive cognitive abilities make it one of the smartest animals in the rodent family.

African Grey Parrot (Air)

African Grey Parrots are fascinating creatures that continue to amaze us with their intelligence. These birds are known for their exceptional problem-solving skills and have been observed using tools to obtain food in the wild. Moreover, they have an uncanny ability to mimic human speech, often with a level of accuracy that is truly impressive. Despite being highly social animals that require a great deal of attention and mental stimulation, African Grey Parrots remain popular pets due to their unique personalities and unparalleled cognitive abilities.

Manta Ray (Water)

Manta Rays are some of the most captivating creatures in the world’s oceans. Their intelligence and curiosity make them stand out from other aquatic species. Research has shown that Manta Rays possess a highly developed brain and nervous system, allowing them to process information quickly and make decisions based on their surroundings. They have been observed exhibiting problem-solving skills, and even playing with objects. Because of their ability to adapt to changing environments, they serve as a key indicator of the health of ocean ecosystems.

Lion (Land)

Lions may not be among the top 10 smartest animals, but they possess unique qualities that make them a formidable force in their natural habitat. These animals have mastered the art of teamwork, hunting, and communication within their pride. Lions’ social intelligence is exceptional and they exhibit complex behaviors that are often observed in human groups. While their strength and courage are impressive, it’s their ability to maintain ecosystems by controlling prey populations that makes them essential to our planet’s biodiversity.


In conclusion, intelligence is not just limited to humans. Animals also possess a unique intelligence that allows them to adapt and thrive in their respective environments. This list of the top 10 smartest animals in the world is just a glimpse of the vast intelligence that exists in the animal kingdom. From the Border Collie’s impressive herding abilities to the Octopus’s problem-solving skills, these intelligent creatures continue to amaze us. And don’t forget about our honorable mentions- they may not have made it to the top 10, but their intelligence is still noteworthy. Share this article with your friends and family and see if they agree with our rankings!