From Outsmarting Humans to Coping With Stress, These Are the Smartest Animals in the World

Whether it be their ability to cope with stress, or plan for the future, animals are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for. In fact, some animals are actually smarter than humans. From birds to rodents to mammals and various marine life, we share the smartest animals on Earth, up ahead.

1. Ravens plan for the future

Tower of London Ravens
Ravens are smarter than they look. | Tankbmb/iStock/Getty Images

Humans and apes aren’t the only species on Earth that like to plan for the future, ravens do, too! Studies suggest that ravens not only know how to plan for the future, they think about the consequences for their actions, too.

Next: These sea creatures learn new skills when they get bored.

2. Squids have the ability to develop new skills to help subdue boredom

This sea creature gets bored, too.| Wikimedia Commons

Their brain structure may be different from other invertebrates, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that squids are one of the smartest of their kind. That said, it’s not all about learning new skills and hunting their prey. Squids can also develop the capacity to use certain cognitive tools to help subdue boredom.

Next: These animals can cope with stress.

3. Baboons can identify and cope with stress

Baboons cope well with stress. | Wikimedia Commons

With their competitive, stratified society, baboons lead a very stressful life. That said, studies show that they’re actually able to cope with the pressure. What’s more? Like humans, baboons handle their stress differently. From type A personalities to baboons with large circle of friends, the individual works within its personality to manage stress.

Next: These insects work well as a group.

4. Ants have excellent group coordination skills

Ant infestation
You wouldn’t guess that they’re smart. | Nurcholis Anhari Lubis/Getty Images

Before you go spraying an ant colony, consider this: Ants are much more intelligent than we give them credit for. Ants are ultimate team players, as they work in unison (and massive groups) to hunt for food, build nests, and even withstand certain environmental changes.

Next: These birds can navigate better than a lot of humans.

5. Pigeons are great navigators

They have been useful to humans. | Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images

In New York City, pigeons may be viewed as flying rats, but they’re actually quite intelligent. In fact, they’re one of the smartest among the bird species. According to Pigeon Control Resource Centre, pigeons are excellent navigators and were once used as an air mail service (known as the Pigeon-gram Air Mail service).

While there are many theories on why pigeons are so great at navigating, one study by Oxford University concludes that they use motorways and roads as a tool for navigation.

Next: These farm animals have a great memory.

6. Sheep have sharp memory skills

Flock of sheep
They have impressive memories. |

While there are plenty animals that possess excellent memory skills, sheep are the highest rank. In some cases, their memory abilities even surpass humans.

That’s not all: Sheep are also highly emotional creatures and can respond to certain situations with specific emotions, proving a high level of intelligence.

Next: These common pets can hunt.

7. Cats are skilled hunters

cat watching mouse
Cats are adept hunters. |

Whether it be a house cat or a tiger, cats have impeccable hunting skills. But, that’s not all. According to Psychology Today, cats have 300 million neurons (compared to dogs at 160 million) and “more nerve cells in the visual areas of their brain than humans and most other mammals.”

Next: These little animals remember where they hid their food.

8. Squirrels remember where they hid their food supply

Squirrel holds a Nut
They have to remember where they hid their food. |

While they don’t have the most complex brains, squirrels are very good (and very focused) at one skill: Gathering a food supply. But, that doesn’t just mean finding food and eating it. In fact, squirrels can find food, store it, and then remember where they stored it much later on.

Next: These animals develop memories.

9. Rats can reminisce on personal memories

Rat in a tunnel
Rats remember the past. | AFP/Getty Images

Rats may not be the most beloved rodents on the planet, but they are one of the most intelligent. With excellent long-term memory, rats may actually be able to reminisce on personal memories.

Next: These birds can problem-solve.

10. Crows can solve complicated problems

Science has proven their intelligence. | Wikimedia Commons

Compared to their body size, Crows has huge brains (about the size of a human thumb). That said, that’s not the only impressive thing about these birds. According to an article on CBS, their brains are “on par with primates,” which allows for complex problem solving among over skills.

Next: These large mammals show empathy.

11. Elephants are empathetic towards one another

African safari
They’re empathetic creatures. | Chris Jek/AFP/Getty Images)

Given their size and their intelligence, elephants have the largest brains of any land animal. That said, their ability to empathize with one another is perhaps one of their most impressive cognitive skills. Research shows when members of their herd are in distress, elephants can actually comfort them.

Next: These sea animals are pretty resourceful.

12. Octopuses are problem solvers

Common octopus
They’re very capable hunters, too. |

Like squids, octopuses are also highly intelligent creatures. Not only do the invertebrates possess impressive hunting skills, they are also known to be quite the problem solvers.

Next: These popular pets have real emotional intelligence.

13. Dogs have high emotional intelligence

Shibu inu jumping in the snow
That’s what makes them such great pets. | Irontrybex/iStock/Getty Images

Ever wonder why dogs make such great companions? It could be due to their high emotional intelligence. According to research, dogs have the ability to feel complex emotions, such as jealousy, guilt, and anticipation.

Next: These huge animals can communicate over long distances.

14. Whales are amazing communicators

humpback whale
Whales have their own languages. |

While their size alone is something truly amazing, whales’ ability to communicate over large distances proves their incredible intelligence. Known to be very social, whales use clicks, whistles and pulsed calls to communicate with others in their pod.

Next: These barnyard animals are as smart as a toddler.

15. Pigs are as smart as 3-year-old humans

Pig beach exuma bahamas
Pigs are incredibly smart. | Bearacreative/iStock/Getty Images

Perhaps one of the smartest animals on the planet, middle-aged pigs are believed to be as smart as 3-year-old humans. With an ability to quickly learn new skills, pigs are able to adapt to new environments almost effortlessly.

Read more: These Are the Most Famous Cats of All Time

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