Animal Facts

Intelligent Animal Facts

Chimpanzee in tree

Introduction - Intelligent Animals

In order to discuss facts about intelligent animals we must first define what we consider to be signs of intelligence. The definition is a matter of debate where scientist are not in agreement. In the below list you will find some of the interesting traits that most scientist believe define intelligence. This is followed by a list of the smartest species and facts about them that make us believe they have superior intelligence. This information is written for both kids and adults.

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List of Traits That Intelligent Animals Display

List of Intelligent Animals


Scientists are fascinated with these amazing animals. These close relatives of humans have many of the traits that prove intelligence. They use tools like sticks to put into termite mounds to gather termites to eat. They also use rocks to smash open nuts. These smart animals can also learn sign language and teach it to other members of their species.


Perhaps surprising to many people is the fact that the Octopus is a smart animal. Test have shown that they can solve problems like finding their way through a maze and opening a jar to get to food. Their brains are large and very well organized.


Many scientist believe Dolphins are the second smartest animals on the earth; second only to humans. They learn complex things quickly; for example Dolphin society is very complex and these animals must learn the rules and how the group functions. They use tools and have a complex language of whistle sounds. One incredible example of intelligence was exhibited by a Dolphin at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi. This Dolphin was rewarded a fish for every piece of trash it retrieved from its pool. The intelligent creature would take large pieces of trash it found and rip them into smaller pieces before trading them in for the reward. A great example of understanding and planning actions.


Elephants exhibit many of the intelligence traits listed above including the use of tools, the ability to learn, self-awareness, and a great memory. There have been numerous examples of elephants appearing to remember people or other elephants they had not seen in years.


Crows have shown remarkable intelligence in numerous scientific tests and in observations of them in the wild. They have been seen using bread crumbs as bait for fishing. They have also been seen making tools that act as knives out of stiff leaves and grass stalks.

Domestic Pig

These animals can be trained to do numerous difficult tasks and have an excellent memory. In a test done in the 1990s on pig intelligence it was shown that they could remember scribbles that they were shown earlier and pick those scribbles over ones they had never seen before.