Humans certainly have the most complex brain of all mammals, and we continue to make tremendous strides in technological advancement. However, our intellectual capabilities fail us miserably at times, leaving us with a plethora of unflattering sayings aimed at our lack of wisdom.
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For instance, ‘dumb as a fox’ and ‘jackass’, among others, paint a rather disappointing picture of our intelligence level. Fortunately, there is a long list of animals that are even worse than us when it comes to not using their heads!
From big to small mammals, some species consistently engage in behaviour (or lack thereof!) that can be deemed illogical to the point of being dangerous and sometimes even fatal!
10 Animals With the Lowest IQ
Even though it can be difficult to measure animal intelligence, the most common methods used to gauge the abilities of animals include learning, self-awareness, problem-solving power, memory recall and processing speed.
Scientists look at how well an animal can adapt to its environment by using these mental abilities. There are of course smart animals like dolphins, ravens and gorillas, yet some species do not measure as high according to human judgement.
With more than 8 million species on Earth, it may be hard to narrow down the top 10 dumbest creatures but when we use our metrics it is possible to differentiate.
When it comes to discussing foolish behaviours that have led to the extinction of animal species, pandas are often the first to come to mind. While these lovable creatures may be incredibly adorable, they are also notorious for being sluggish and unintelligent animals.
Despite their physical adaptations for hunting and survival in the wild, such as strong claws and sharp teeth, pandas choose to spend their time chewing on bamboo leaves. This plant is their primary source of sustenance, and pandas must consume vast quantities of bamboo every day to obtain the bare minimum of nutrients they need to survive.
However, because bamboo lacks the protein and fat necessary for energy, pandas do not have the resources to engage in essential activities such as hunting, tree-climbing, and mating. Therefore, their population in the wild has steadily declined.
Given their propensity for laziness, it is not surprising that pandas are often regarded as one of the least intelligent creatures. Sadly, this laziness has also put their species in grave danger, making them a symbol of the detrimental impact humans can have on the natural world.
Certain animals can be considered foolish based on their strange physical appearance, and turkeys are certainly among them. With their wide-set eyes, head movements, and clumsy gait, turkeys may be perceived as lacking intelligence. However, it is not their physical appearance that has earned them a spot on the list of the least intelligent animals.
In reality, it is their thoughtless behaviour and tendency to live a sedentary lifestyle on farms that make turkeys less intelligent. These birds would struggle to survive in the wild due to their lack of survival skills.
Some farmers have reported observing turkeys staring at the sky with their beaks open during rainfall. While they seem to enjoy the experience, this behaviour can cause water to pour down their throats, leading to accidental drowning. This is an incredibly absurd way for a turkey to meet its demise.
Also, turkeys are known for their friendly demeanour, which often gets them into trouble. Being slow and heavy makes them easy prey for predators, including domestic dogs and cats. This further contributes to their reputation as foolish animals.
While parrots are often considered to be intelligent animals capable of learning tricks, songs, and thousands of words, the kakapo bird is the exception to this common perception.
Kakapos are flightless birds that bear a resemblance to owls and were once free to roam throughout New Zealand. With ample food and no predators in sight, these birds did not develop the instinctual ability to recognize and respond to danger, leaving them vulnerable to predators when humans settled in the region, bringing more capable and intelligent animals with them.
To make matters worse, these birds have also found a way to harm themselves by failing to mate properly. While they have a strong desire to reproduce, they often go about it in the wrong way. From building unusual mating nests to irritating females with their unusual ‘love song’, they have struggled to perpetuate their species effectively.
Despite these challenges, a few hundred kakapos have managed to survive. Considering their foolish behaviour, it’s almost miraculous that these birds have made it this far.
Koalas are yet another species that is endangered, partly due to human hunting and selling them for their fur or as pets. However, these animals also contribute significantly to their own peril.
For starters, their dietary habits are a major problem. As herbivores, they rely mainly on leaves from trees like eucalyptus and acacia, and if they can’t find a food source within reach, they will simply starve to death.
Moreover, koalas are very clumsy and weak animals that don’t even attempt to escape when they feel threatened. Additionally, they have poor hygiene habits and are prone to diseases and bacteria. So while they may look cute, they aren’t necessarily the cleanest creatures.
The root of the koala’s unusual behaviour is their anatomy. Their brains are incredibly small and underutilized, making them behave as if they’re in a constant state of euphoria. While this may be amusing, it also means they are not particularly intelligent.
The flamingo is often stereotyped as the “dumb blonde” of the animal kingdom. While we shouldn’t generalize or assume that intelligence and beauty can’t coexist, in the case of flamingos, this reputation may hold some truth.
Despite their stunning appearance, flamingos are not particularly intelligent animals. Strangely, they often stand on one leg, even though they have two legs, and they even sleep in this position. Additionally, their fishing technique, with their beaks turned upside down, seems inefficient for catching fish.
However, in certain circumstances, the intelligence of flamingos shines through. When they have chicks, for instance, they are attentive parents, displaying nurturing behaviour. So, despite their quirks, flamingos are still able to overcome their limitations and adapt to their environment.
Birds are known for their ability to fly, which enables them to move faster, hunt more efficiently, and avoid predators. However, some bird species don’t seem to appreciate this gift. Take, for instance, the secretary bird.
These birds have large wings but seldom fly. They only use their flying abilities to reach their nests or during courtship rituals.
Moreover, secretary birds use an unusual hunting technique that involves walking on the ground to catch their prey.
This approach significantly reduces their field of vision and puts them at risk of becoming prey themselves. To make matters worse, these foolish birds use their beaks instead of their claws to catch reptiles and rodents, which could result in serious injury or death if they miss and get bitten by their prey.
If you’ve watched Ice Age, you might have assumed that real sloths are geniuses like Sid the Sloth and his clever plans that often get the animated buddies into trouble but also get them out of it. However, the reality is quite the opposite. Sloths are generally slow, clumsy, and not very interested in their surroundings.
They even spend most of their days sleeping, sometimes falling unconsciously and dying. Additionally, they may mistake a tree branch for their limb, leading to fatal consequences. When they are awake, they mainly hang on trees, digesting food for days and even weeks. Perhaps it’s safe to say that these animals are just incredibly lethargic rather than intelligent.
Living in harsh conditions with limited food sources and predators everywhere demands extreme resourcefulness. However, the jerboa, a desert rodent with an unusual appearance and behaviour, doesn’t quite fit the bill.
This creature looks like a bizarre blend of a rabbit, a mouse, and a kangaroo, which would be advantageous in an ideal world. Their long legs and large ears are supposed to help them run fast, jump when threatened, and locate enemies. Nevertheless, in reality, jerboas struggle to learn how to jump, which takes months and puts them at risk in the harsh desert environment.
Furthermore, unlike many rodents, jerboas do not store their food, preferring to live day by day, which is not the smartest way to survive in areas with limited food sources.
The bird species dominate the list of animals with low intelligence, including the ostrich, despite being the largest bird. Ostriches have small brains that weigh only 26.34 grams, making up about 0.015% of their body weight.
Although ostriches possess impressive physical abilities, they lack intelligence, displaying thoughtless and reckless behaviour, such as consuming almost anything and using a general pattern of behaviour in response to danger.
Instead of utilizing their strengths, ostriches tend to bow their heads to the ground and believe they are invisible, rather than using their long legs to run away or fight predators.
While Komodo dragons are formidable predators, they typically do not pose a danger to humans. While they cannot be called unintelligent, they are not particularly adept at adapting to their environment and exhibit behaviour that can be considered foolish.
They often act on instinct, endangering themselves in the process. For instance, they can eat such a large amount of prey in one sitting that they risk becoming too heavy to move effectively. This makes them vulnerable to predators, even smaller ones.
Additionally, these reptiles do not perceive humans as a threat and are often hunted and captured as pets, which has contributed to their status as an endangered species. Fortunately, Komodo dragons are now protected, so if they can avoid extinction, it will be due to conservation efforts.
What animal has the highest IQ?
What is the IQ of a sloth?
The intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a measure of a person’s cognitive abilities, particularly their reasoning and problem-solving skills. It is calculated by dividing an individual’s test score by their age and then multiplying the result by 100. However, as sloths are non-human animals, they are unable to take the IQ test and have their intelligence measured in this way.
Do animals have IQ levels?
Indeed, animals possess varying levels of intelligence and are capable of being trained to enhance their sensory capabilities.
What is the IQ of a cow?
A cow’s behaviour is guided by instinct rather than cognitive reasoning, and therefore, it cannot be attributed to an IQ score.
Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.