Are humans the smartest animals on Earth? Not necessarily, according to primatologist Frans de Waal, author of Are “We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”. He writes about chimpanzees that can remember numbers displayed for a few seconds better than humans can and dogs that can recognize human body language better than other humans.

It’s common knowledge that chimps and dogs (especially border collies) are pretty darn smart, but here are some other animals that are much more intelligent than we may realize.


Pigs are considered to be among the smartest domestic animals in the world.

They can use joysticks to play video games, easily solve mazes, understand simple symbolic language and have excellent long-term memories (this, as I’ve previously pointed out, is just one reason why Donald Trump should not be called a pig).

Six-week-old piglets were able to learn how to use mirrors to find their hidden food. Seriously, could human infants do that?


Like pigs, sheep have very strong memory and recognition skills. One study found that they were able to remember 25 pairs of sheep faces more than two years later, which is longer than many humans could.

Sheep also exhibit emotional intelligence, indicated by their ability to form friendships, defend weaker sheep in fights and experience sadness when their friends are taken away to the slaughterhouse.


Cows are also cognitively and emotionally intelligent. They can quickly learn a variety of tasks, have long-term memories and can recognize human faces. They have friends as well as enemies, and they very strongly feel emotions like pain, fear and anxiety.

“These are highly developed mammals that have been solving problems for a long, long time,” said zoologist Dr. Daniel Weary in an interview with the Huffington Post. “If anything, it reflects poorly on us that we’re surprised that these animals are smart. Of course these animals are smart.”


The mosquitofish (live-bearing tooth carp), a small freshwater fish that gets its name from the mosquito larvae it consumes, can count up to four or higher. Researchers discovered that female mosquitofish that were being harassed by males would always swim off to a group of at least four other fish – never fewer than four.

Many other animals (including chickens, as you’ll soon learn) have the ability to count.


Should “birdbrained” be considered a compliment? Absolutely, considering the intelligence of crows, pigeons, chickens and our other fine-feathered friends.

Crows have unusually large brains for their size, making their intelligence similar to that of problem-solving primates. They use those brains to recognize the faces of different species and determine if they are friends or foes.

They can also comprehend basic physics like water displacement, may be able to memorize garbage truck routes so they can follow them for scraps, and can change their migration pattern to detour around areas where crows have been killed.

Crows can also express gratitude: A little girl who fed crows in Seattle collected more than 70 “gifts” they left for her in the bird feeder, including earrings and a “Best Friend” charm.


Pigeons can learn abstract mathematical rules, an ability they share only with humans and rhesus monkeys.

Their ability to solve problems is highly evolved. A study found that pigeons have the intelligence of a 3-year-old human child.


Chickens can also solve complex problems, count and differentiate between geometric shapes. They can communicate using more than two dozen vocalizations, each of which has a different meaning.

Before they’re hatched, chicks use different-toned peeps to let their mothers know whether they’re cold or comfortable.


About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

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