When we think about the most brilliant animals, we have a few that come to mind. We know dolphins have advanced cognitive abilities and can be trained to communicate. We know about Koko, the gorilla capable of expressing complex emotions in sign language. And of course, we all know that deep down, our dogs and cats are Mensa material.
These 10 animals might not have the reputation for being the best and the brightest, but these animals have brilliant skills that you've never heard of.
1. Raccoons can pick complicated locks in fewer than 10 tries. Not only that, but these bandits can remember how to pick certain locks years later.
2. Crows can take on a simple science project like water displacement. They are thought to have the intelligence of a 7-year-old human child.
3. There are billions of ants spanning America, Europe and Japan that refuse to fight each other when brought together. Scientists believe that for centuries, the ants were part of the same colony.
4. It only take a piglet a few hours to grasp the concept of a mirror. Scientists suspect that the intelligence of pigs might be equivalent to a 3-year-old human toddler.
5. Sheep hold board meetings: entire herds will meet together and make executive decisions together. Sheep are one of few mammals able to recognize color patterns.
6. The United Kingdom animal protection law classifies octopi as vertebrates because of their intelligence. They can navigate mazes, use tools, build walls and, as you can see here, escape jars.
7. Squirrels remember where thousands of nuts are hidden, even if they hid them months ago.
8. Rats are used in behavior and logic tests because the rats can be trained easily and naturally look for loopholes in their tasks.
9. Pigeons can remember hundreds of images and even identify human faces from photographs. They recognize themselves in a mirror and can be taught to read the alphabet.
10. Bees use swarm intelligence, a special democracy that leverages the intelligence of the entire hive. When bees scout locations, they communicate their finds to the other bees through dancing.