Top 10 most intelligent wild animals in Britain

Some wild birds and beasts of the British Isles are suprisingly smart, appreciating fine art, navigating by the stars and even saving other animal's lives. We bet you won't believe number 5! 

HIGHBRIDGE, ENGLAND - MAY 18:  A resident fox is seen at Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill near Highbridge on May 18, 2015 in Somerset, England.  Prime Minister David Cameron pledged that the MPs would be given a free vote on scrapping Labour's 10 year-old controversial hunting ban if the Conservatives won the election and some Tory MPs are demanding the vote to be included in this month's Queen Speech. However the threat of the repeal of the act has raised serious concerns with a number of animal welfare charities who are opposed to hunting.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

1. Crows

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)

Able to solve complicated problems and get crafty by fashioning tools to adapt to different situations, crows are one of the most intelligent birds in the world.  A particular indication of high intelligence is their ability to learn these skills from their elders. They have even been known to leave their nuts on the sides of roads to allow cars to crack the shells for them.

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2. Honeybees

Honey bee

It has recently been discovered that bees have surprisingly good memory and recognition skills, although as in humans, this does vary between individuals. Even more impressive is that swarms as a whole are able to communicate, make decisions democratically and organise themselves efficiently as a swarm. 

3. Foxes

Curious Fox cub

The phrase, ‘as sly as a fox’ is mostly in reference to the crafty mammal’s appearance, but studies of domesticated foxes have shown that they understand commands and can communicate as dogs would do. They’re also unusually good at foraging for food, successfully surviving in cities. 

4. Squirrels

Squirrel, close-up, ground view

Squirrels portray clear signs of intelligence, including the ability to interpret the intentions of other beings and find hidden food. They’ve been documented covering themselves in rattlesnake scent to deter predators and have even been known to simulate hiding non-existent nuts to throw fellow squirrels off the scent.

5. Pigeons

Evil Looking Wood Pigeon

Aside from their homing abilities and good memory, pigeons are one of few animals able to recognise themselves in ‘the mirror test’, which looks for self awareness in animals. Incredibly, a 1995 study found that pigeons could discriminate between works of art by Picasso and Monet. 

6. Rats

Rat

An ability to get their bait without being trapped is one of many clever traits of these rodents. Others include signs of empathy and selflessness for fellow rats trapped in experiments as well as good long term memories. They are successful in finding shortcuts, loopholes and escape routes in mazes in lab experiments. 

7. Seals

Grey Seal

Wild seals are very intelligent, curious and have good coordination, learning tricks easily in captivity. They are highly curious and instinctively protective – there was even a case reported of a seal coming to the rescue of a drowning dog. Aww. 

8. Otters

otter portrait close up on a creek background

Like crows, otters are another of few animals that can use tools, using rocks to break shellfish open and harnessing themselves with seaweeds as an anchor.

9. Bats

Bechstein

Intelligent and social animals, bats have recently been found to be capable of developing longterm relationships with other bats. A new study showed that they “cultivate long-term, stable personal relationships with other individuals and can form networks with friends and relatives”. 

10. Dung beetles

Green bugs and lilly

Dung beetles may seem like simple beings, but consider this: they follow the stars to navigate and to prevent themselves from rolling in circles or close to known competitors. 
 

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Main image: Getty images