Can You Identify These Highly Intelligent Animals?


By: Sameena Mughal

6 Min Quiz

Image: Anup Shah / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Many of us like to learn about animals. We'll study them in nature, watch shows about them and read about them. Some of us own animals too. What's easy to forget since they don't communicate as humans do is that some are very smart and have impressive skills not seen in human behavior.

Animals have their methods of survival, and some can be highly organized. For example, when birds migrate, they fly in formation and rotate who goes front and who goes to the back. Wolves who travel in packs have their ranks. Their alpha leads them, and they follow. Whether we realize it or not, all of this involves sophisticated thought processes.

Some animals can remember faces, where they've been and where they've seen resources like food. In scientific studies, some animals like dogs and pigs learn tasks quickly.

Think about the animals you know. You probably can remember things they've done that have made you laugh or make you shake your head in disbelief. A lot is going on in those brains of theirs, even if we don't know exactly what it is.

We've gathered some pictures together of some crafty creatures. Look through them and see how deep your knowledge of the animal kingdom goes!

Can you name these trash divers?

Raccoons are the burglars of the wilderness. Researchers have found that they have sophisticated problem-solving skills. One study determined that they can pick locks in fewer than ten attempts.


Do you recognize this primate?

The genetic code of the chimpanzee matches the human genetic code almost 99%. In one experiment, chimps outperformed humans in remembering numbers. They are organized hunters and have strong memories.


Do you know this worker?

Ants have highly efficient colonies with workers collaborating to carry out daily tasks. They organize themselves according to smell and adapt their jobs according to need.


Who is this four-legger?

Dogs are one of the most loyal animals and are excellent at learning and making connections. They can respond to cues for commands, often have excellent memories and can remember food and routes.


You don't want to be one, but what do you call it?

Scientists have found that pigeons can learn concepts that you would not expect them to. Pigeons can learn math rules that most animals cannot. They also can recognize a person by face.


Don't be one. But can you name it?

Chickens are much more intelligent than you may realize. Research has shown that chickens have memory and can count. In some studies, they have demonstrated an ability to think ahead.


What is the name of this house creature?

Some people think that because they are less trainable that cats are not as intelligent as dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cats are super smart and adaptable to many situations.


Can you name this flyer?

Honeybees have some of the most sophisticated communities in the animal kingdom. They cooperate to find the best home for all and come to decisions together, even voting on a location.


Can you name this screamer?

Crows are resourceful creatures. They can figure out how to make tools out of branches, feathers and other things they find around them. They learn by watching other crows, which shows a deeper intelligence.


Do you recognize this eight-legger?

The octopus is proof of how handy having eight legs is. These amazing animals can use their many limbs to take lids off jars, slink through small areas to escape and climb out of tanks.


What is the name of this gentle giant?

Elephants are among the few animals on the planet who are highly self-aware, so much so that they can recognize themselves in a mirror. Only apes, humans and dolphins can do that.


It might want a cracker, but what do you call it?

African greys are considered the rocket scientists of the parrot breed. Researchers have found that they can reason and can navigate cause-and-effect relationships.


Can you tell us the name of this primate?

Rhesus monkeys are considered Old World monkeys. They have been used to great effect in medical research, helping humans identify blood types. They were the first monkeys in space too.


Can you name this sea creature?

Despite being colorblind, squid can camouflage themselves and can make others aware of their color-change. They can produce light to blend into their environments. To avoid predators, they shoot an ink jet that shields them.


Can you name this gatherer?

Who would guess that squirrels can be master plotters? If they feel their stash of food is threatened or an enemy is near, they can throw intruders off their tracks by covering it up with another animal's smell.


What do you call this rancher?

Since they tend to graze all day in a herd, intelligence isn't the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a cow. They have long memories and can figure out a task when it's presented to them.


Do you know these playful sea-dwellers?

Sea otters have extraordinary abilities with tools that are not seen in many other animals. They can open clams with rocks they find and can figure out how to stack cups.


Don't call him Flipper. What would you call him?

Bottlenose dolphins are considered one of the most intelligent animals on Earth by many scientists. They are highly communicative with each other and have a special whistle to identify themselves.


He isn't called billy. What's he called?

Despite attempting to eat everything in sight, goats are more intelligent than you might think. In an Australian study, researchers had goats work a lever to get food, and most figured it out within four attempts.


Can you tell us the name of this fish?

Rainbowfish learn at a quicker rate than some mammals, rats specifically. In some studies, they have remembered where and when they have found food in a shorter amount of time than rats.


Who is this swinging ape?

Orangutans are one of the smartest primates. In many studies, scientists have been able to teach them basic language. In one study, they were able to use symbols on a computer monitor.


It's a sucker. What do you call it?

Although they aren't blind as many believe, vampire bats can detect prey through echoes. They are social animals who share their food and help groom others in their group.


Do you recognize this farm animal?

Pigs get a bad rap because they roll around in mud all day and eat a lot. But studies show how intelligent these barnyard animals are. They can interact with a video screen and know the difference between marks they know and marks they don't.


Do you know this pointy-nosed rascal?

Many people are fearful of rats, but those who keep them as pets know differently. Like dogs, they know their names, and they will come when their owners call for them. Researchers have also found that they can come to conclusions with the information they have.


What is this majestic primate called?

Gorillas, like many Great Apes, have excellent communication abilities with humans. Scientists taught a gorilla named Koko sign language, and she eventually was able to understand English.


Of course you would know this one. Can you tell us its name?

Animal researchers say horses learn faster than dogs and other herd animals. They can determine who and what is a threat very quickly. They have great memories and can identify shapes like a chimpanzee can.


Can you recognize this ocean behemoth?

Killer whales have brains that can weigh close to 15 pounds. This size gives them a tremendous capacity for making sense of their environment. They can teach communication and survival skills that last for generations.


What is the name of this tuxedo-wearing animal?

Penguins are mostly social animals who conduct daily activities, like hunting in groups. Males, in particular, have keen navigation ability and can find their mates among large groups of penguins.


Can you name this arachnid?

Jumping spiders have excellent vision, which aids them when they hunt. They can envision where the prey is and plan routes to get to it. They can adapt and change if their previous plan doesn't work.


What's the name of this social butterfly of the primate world?

Baboons have been known to be able to differentiate between real words and words that are made up, even if they can't read them. Their ability to find patterns helps them make sense of the letters.


Can you quietly name this rodent?

A mouse may be quiet and small, but it's a lot craftier than you might realize. It will use its sense of smell and hearing to avoid predators. It also has a great memory so that it can memorize routes.


What is this bird's name?

Nutcrackers have highly sophisticated memories. When they store pine seeds for the winter, they hide about 30,000 in up to 15,000 different spots, and they remember them all.


Can you tell us the name of this ocean giant?

Manta rays have the biggest brains in the fish world with highly developed regions for learning. They have been known to recognize their reflections in a mirror, which very few animal species can do.


Do you recognize this reptile?

Monitor lizards set themselves apart from other reptiles when hunting and consuming animals. It can be systematic in the whole process. At times, it will tear its prey in pieces instead of swallowing it whole.


Can you name this bird of prey?

Because of their keen minds, falcons are considered some of the easiest birds to train. They are fast and efficient hunters. Their trainers can also call them back when they send them away.


Can you name this water creature?

Cuttlefish, like most cephalopods, can mimic other animals. To protect itself from predators, it will imitate the actions of a hermit crab, which is an animal other animals will not eat.


Do you know this ocean royal?

Sea lions can make mental connections that typically only humans and primates can make. They have a keen sense of matching signals and symbols, which helps them find food and recognize danger.


The bluebird on your shoulder is called what?

In a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, it was found that scrub jays can prepare for what their future needs will be and plan accordingly. If they think their food will become scarce, they will put it aside.


Do you know this brainy bird?

Jackdaws can figure out where food is by gestures. Like primates, they use their eyes to communicate with members of their group. Many will care for their family members who have suffered an injury.


Can you name this colorful marine animal?

Recently, researchers have discovered that tuskfish can create "tools" out of its environment, which is a higher-order skill not typical among fish. It will use the nearest hard object to break open clams.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!