The 19 Least Intelligent Animals in the World (2024 Edition)

Dumbest Animals in the World: Ostrich
© Harry Beugelink/

Written by Heather Ross

Published: June 10, 2024

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You hear plenty about how smart animals are. Dolphins are smarter than people. Koko the Gorilla could tell you how she loved you with sign language. But animals, alas, are just like us.

For every genius in the batch, you’ll find someone who appears to be just plain dumb. But that’s not always the case. Like humans, having a brain doesn’t mean you don’t have mental dexterity. Our list below consists of those animals who prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that animal kind can be as silly as us.

Read on as we look at the 19 dumbest animals in the world.

#19 Dumbest Animals in the World: Giraffes

Dumbest Animals in the World: Giraffe
Giraffes are the tallest mammals on Earth, with a neck too short to reach the ground.

©Ketan shah/

The long legs of a giraffe make it a funny-looking animal. Then, there’s its neck, which can be up to 6 feet long. Many people assume that the giraffe’s neck helps them get leaves off tall trees, but there are a limited number of trees in East Africa, where the giraffe lives. Furthermore, the giraffe is a quiet animal that seems to have very little to say. Therefore, many assume that the giraffe is dumb.

The giraffe’s long legs are beneficial as offensive weapons. This animal can kick in every direction with accuracy. Therefore, if it can get close to its prey, it can land a lethal blow. When giraffes feel threatened, they use their long necks to swing their heads around like a club. This allows them to knock out some animals before they can hurt or kill them. While giraffes do not communicate often, they do send messages to each other. Giraffes communicate using moans and grunts that you cannot hear because of their frequency. Furthermore, giraffes communicate with their eyes and by touching each other.

Are pandas more stupid, or is the giraffe dumber? Learn more about giraffes.

#18 Killdeer

Dumbest Animals in the World: Killdeer
Killdeer bird parents


a “broken wing” display to distract predators from the nest.

©Hayley Crews/

Killdeers seem to be stupid animals that rush around all the time screaming their call. This automatically draws attention from their predators to themselves. Calling even more attention to themselves, they do not try to run away from their predators. Instead, they stand still and bob up and down, almost like they have hiccups. These birds even build their nests on the ground, where they appear to be easy prey for their predators.

They should win an Oscar for the dumbest bird acting. When an adult killdeer bird spots a predator near its nest, it runs toward the predator while screaming its call. The killdeer bird also pretends to have a broken wing. Just as the predator thinks that he will catch a tasty meal, the killdeer takes off in flight and lands back on its nest, where it is warmly welcomed by its mate and the baby birds if they have already hatched.

#17 Komodo Dragon

Dumbest Animals in the World: Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragons can grow to three meters in length. Even though they are so big, Komodo dragons can be very fast when they are hunting prey.

©Yudi S/

Komodo dragons may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, and they are often thought of as stupid animals based on their looks alone. These reptiles which are the largest member of the lizard family, live in Indonesia. They have huge jaws, and they can open them extremely wide.

Komodo dragons have the dirtiest mouth in the animal kingdom. They can deliver enough E Coli and other bacteria to kill much larger animals with a single bite. Then, they follow them around, waiting for them to die in a day or two.

These lizards can eat up to 80% of their body weight in a single meal. These stupid animals do not know when to stop eating so extra weight can slow them down tremendously. If their bellies are overfull and they sense a predator is about to get them, then they vomit their stomach contents up. This allows them to move faster, and the predator may decide to eat the partially digested meal instead of them.

Are pandas stupid or are Komodo dragons? Learn more about Komodo dragons before deciding.

#16 Horned Lizard

Dumbest Animals in the World: Horned Lizard
A Mexican Plateau horned lizard (Phrynosoma orbiculare cortezii). Its horny appearance and coloration help it to blend into sparse vegetation.


The horned lizard looks unusual because of its squat, flattened shape and short, blunt snout. While it looks unusual, they appear to be lazy. They have spines on their bodies. They wait for an ant to wander by before they snatch it. Otherwise, they spend their day being lazy in the desert.

When a horned lizard feels threatened, however, it can shoot blood from its eyes. Their unusual body shape helps ensure that they can get close enough for the blood to reach their predator. The lizard’s blood can shoot up to 3 feet, deters predators from getting closer, and predators often find out that it tastes horrible. The blood that comes out of a special duct near their eyes is toxic to canines, like dogs, wolves, and coyotes.

Furthermore, they can inflate their bodies to twice their size. Then, they look like spiny balloons. Therefore, other animals do not want to approach it for fear that they will get poked.

Learn more about horned lizards and their North American habitat. Then, see if you think they are pandas stupid or if the horned lizard is dumber.

#15 Secretary Bird

Dumbest Animals in the World: Secretary Bird
A secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) flying through a dry field. This is one of Africa’s weirdest birds. It struts about the savannah with the head of an eagle and the legs of a stork.

©Barbara Ash/

Secretary birds may look like some of the dumbest birds in the world. These birds that live in the sub-Saharan African grasslands have long legs and sharp toes.

Despite their unusual appearance, the long legs and sharp toes act as an essential defensive mechanism. It allows this bird weighing about 7.3 pounds to stomp with force equal to 36.5 pounds. The force is not only very powerful, but the bird can deliver it in 15 milliseconds. They often use their quick, powerful kick to kill venomous snakes without getting bit if they miss.

#14 Northern Fulmar Chicks

Dumbest Animals in the World: Northern Fulmar
Fulmar and young on the nest. The Fulmar is a superb glider of the open Northern ocean. They brave storms and rough weather when other sea birds might seek refuge.


Fulmar chicks look like some of the dumbest birds. The female fulmar bird returns to land only to lay its single egg and feed its young. The chicks appear helpless as they sit in their nests high on rocky ledges over the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans while being unable to fly.

Yet, these birds that are often nominated as the dumbest birds have a secret defense mechanism. If a predator gets too close, then they projectile vomit on them. A special part of their stomach, called the proventriculus, stores the rancid oil that the chicks vomit whenever they feel threatened. The vomit is also deadly. No matter what predatory birds do, they cannot get the oil off, and it causes them to be unable to fly. Meanwhile, foxes who try to attack the nests get a full face, which means that they cannot sneak up on their enemies because their prey can smell the animal coming.

#13 Slow Loris

Dumbest Animals in the World: Slow Loris
Slow Loris monkey with big eyes on a tree with green leaf as background. Slow lorises often hang upside-down from branches by their feet so they can use both hands to eat.

©hkhtt hj/

The slow loris seems almost lovable if you see it during the day as it has big round eyes, a chubby face, and sharp claws. This animal is nocturnal, so it looks like a sleeping baby when you see one during the day.

One of the reasons this South East Asia animal, which appears to be stupid by not being worried about staying safe, is the lethal weapon that it keeps hidden under its arms. It simply raises its arms and gets some of a substance secreted about its elbows with its mouth when it feels threatened. When the substance is combined with saliva, this poison is venomous, and the slow loris can kill its predator with a single bite.

#12 Japanese Land Snails

Dumbest Animals in the World: Japanese Land Snails
Snails live in slow motion. Normally they reach a top speed of 50 yards per hour; this is about 0.5 inches per second


©Billy Watkins/

Most snails hide inside their hard shells until a threat of danger passes. That is not the case with the Japanese land snails as they come out of their shells.

While that may seem like a move that would easily land them on our stupidest animal ever list, it is a brilliant move. The Ezohelix gainesi snail from Japan and the Karaftohelix selskii from Eastern Russia can throw their shells at their predators. The most common predator of these snails is the beetle. These snails can sling their shells about 180 degrees, and they use it to knock the beetle away.

#11 Norwegian Lemmings

Dumbest Animals in the World: Norwegian Lemmings
Norwegian lemmings spend the winter in underground tunnel systems, located under the snow, where they find shelter from predators.


Norwegian lemmings have long been seen as stupid because they fight animals much bigger than themselves when necessary. These rodents grow to be about 6 inches long and weigh about 4.5 lbs. Yet, they attack animals, like cats, birds of prey, and bullmastiffs.

They use their strong teeth as their primary defensive weapon. Therefore, they have to get close enough to bite their enemy. Their distinctive white cheeks and chin may draw their predators ‘attention toward their mouths.

Learn more about the Norwegian lemming which is a member of the rodent family.

#10 Cane Toads

Dumbest Animals in the World: Cane Toads
The cane toad, the dumbest amphibian on our list, will eat dog food.

©Peter Yeeles/

Found in several locations, including Northern Australia, South America, and mainland Central America, cane toads have long been labeled as really stupid animals. The world’s largest toad, it has a diet that includes both living and deceased matter. And that trait goes beyond their meals.

These aggressive creatures can be found openly having physical relations with … anything. Live or dead. Without hesitation, they assault rats, lizards, snakes, and anything else that moves. Obviously, these creatures love physical intimacy, to say the least.

If it’s about propagating the species, we’re confused. The females are extremely fertile. One female is capable of laying nearly 30,000 eggs at the same time.

#9 Kakapo

Dumbest Animals in the World: Kakapo
Although parrots are generally

very intelligent birds

, the Kakapo is one of the dumbest animals.

©Imogen Warren/

Making it on the list as the dumbest bird, the Kakapo, out of New Zealand, is a parrot owl. The species is a large flightless bird. A night animal, this ground-dwelling bird belongs to the Strigopoidea super-family endemic to its home country. The bird’s also incredibly stupid. It has no value for its own life.

Picture the scenario: The predator spies the prey. The predator may creep up slowly. Or the creature could pound the pavement in a crazed dash. Doesn’t matter. Either way, the predator attacks. Here’s the rub: the predator can be a cat, stoat, rat, or, well, anything. The prey is the Kakapo. The Kakapo doesn’t move. It doesn’t blink. Even if it sees the attack coming from a continent away. The bird freezes and waits to be a meal.

If that’s not enough, Kakapo’s ineptness regarding reproduction is mind-boggling. The mating call is so disturbing it leaves the female dazed and confused. This complicates mating as no one seems to have any idea what’s going on or what to do. Unfortunately and maybe not surprisingly, as of 2020. there were less than 200 Kapapo on the entire planet.

#8 Koala

Dumbest Animals in the World: Koala
The very dumb Koala bear is not a bear at all, but a marsupial.


An Aussie favorite that people can’t get enough of, people just love to watch koalas roll around and stare. But most of that is because their brain levels are the equivalent of being high all the time. They have the smallest brains of any known mammal.

These dumbest animals get a kick out of eucalyptus leaves. They’ll tear each other apart for it even though they can eat any leaf. On top of that, the eucalyptus is difficult to digest, even with the koala’s four stomachs. The admittedly adorable animal also has no sense of hygiene and is famous for spreading disease. We’re talking chlamydia. Koalas are adorable, so they have a right to their eccentricities.

#7 Sloth

Dumbest Animals in the World: Sloth
The sloth, which is one of the dumbest and slowest animals, can take 30 days to digest a leaf.


Sloths reside in South and Central America’s lowland tropical regions, spending their time in the first canopy. There are two- and three-toed sloths. Sloths hit the big time after the “Ice Age” movies, thanks to Sid the Slot. He could be simple-minded but often used his brains to save the day. Forget Sid the Sloth. The truth is these animals are dumb. The Sloth could be the stupidest of the dumbest animals.

Well, maybe not stupid animals so much as lazy. They sleep pretty much all day every day. Rumor is they only leave the tree for a quick trip in the shrubs for a bathroom break. After this, it crawls (like a sloth) back into the tree to get more beauty sleep. During the trek, it’s not unusual for the creature to slip and die. Why? It often mistakes one of its own limbs for a tree branch. This leads to all kinds of Jerry Lewis mishaps which end with the end.

#6 Goblin Shark

Dumbest Animals in the World: Goblin Shark
One of the dumbest animals, the goblin shark, gets its name from a demon.

©Peter Halasz / CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original / License

Sharks are generally known as creatures of reasonable intelligence. The average shark talks about the goblin shark behind its back. Not because the globin’s the black sheep of the family. Sharks think it’s the dumb one.

Found mostly off the coastlines of Japan, the goblin shark has poor eyesight, is thought to be a poor swimmer, and is generally sluggish. A hard task for a natural swimmer. It’s also lazy. So lazy it won’t hunt for food. Instead, its teeth are held in by bands of skin tissue that are elastic, so when prey such as a squid, mollusk, crab, or other fish swims by, the goblin shark grabs it with the elastic tissue with hardly an ounce of energy expended.

The fish is also capable of being easy prey, letting predators “walk” right up and take it out. Behavior like that lands the goblin shark on any list of dumbest animals.

#5 Jerboa

Dumbest Animals in the World: Jerboa
The Jerboa,  a hopping desert rodent found throughout Northern Africa, is one of the dumbest animals around.

©Yerbolat Shadrakhov/

Jerboas are bizarre-looking little rodents. They make fascinating views because they move with an almost startling speed in surprising ways. They’re bipedal, a trait that allows their tiny legs to either hop like a kangaroo or sprint like a roadrunner. They’re difficult to breed in captivity though.

Found in Africa and Asia, this is another one of those animals on the list that doesn’t seem to know how to survive. They’re inept at finding food, saving food, and protecting food. Plus, with their powerful, strange-looking legs, they either bolt like roadrunners or hop like superfrogs. Watching them go back and forth to avoid predators looks quite insane. But there’s no record showing it doesn’t work!

#4 Turkey

Dumbest Animals in the World: Turkey
One of the dumbest birds, Turkey, was first domesticated by the Aztecs.


The Meleagris, or turkey, is a beloved food at least once a year. Many enjoy them as pets. And the entire world knows how much the turkey deserves to be on any list of dumbest birds. They have widely-spaced eyes and an almost clumsy, dim-witted walk. Benjamin Franklin called them “birds of courage.” Animal Planet says they’re “confused,” while The Washington Post attests these animals are just misunderstood.

Owners who love the bird have spoken of their turkey preferring to only drink water that drips upward. This phenomenon is the result of the bird consuming rain as it falls from the sky. But they’re not drinking. They simply have a tendency of staring into the sky for up to 30 minutes at a time. When it rains, it appears the birds are simply mesmerized at the idea of wetness coming out of nowhere. So, they stare with their mouths open in awe. Often, they do so until they drown.

#3 Panda Bear

giant panda eating greens
The dumbest bear, the Panda, has been a symbol of peace in China.


Are pandas stupid?

Yes, yes they are. The cutest animal in the world is way up there on the stupid chart. Let’s start with the fact they’re an endangered species because statistics show they have no real interest in sex!

Are pandas stupid? The scientific community officially classifies the lovely black and white panda as a carnivore. That’s because it has a digestive system not suited for a herbivore diet. Yet, despite being a carnivorous breed, the panda is determined to spend its time eating bamboo.

The panda mother is also known to aggressively kill their children. Even if unintentionally. Are pandas stupid is a question that needs no answer. But their cuteness will forever make them beloved.

#2 Flamingo

Dumbest Animals in the World: Flamingo
The Flamingo, one of the dumbest animals, produce a special liquid baby food in their throats called crop milk.

©Ondrej Prosicky/

You can’t appreciate the stunning beauty of the flamingo if you’ve only seen one in a zoo or in a picture. You have to get out to East Africa. That’s when the full majesty of their beauty unfolds. But like the dumb blonde, the flamingo was blessed with looks but not brains.

They have two healthy, long legs but, for some odd reason, it only uses one leg most of the time. While sleeping and feeding, it goes ballerina, delicately and needlessly balancing on one leg. But then the cow sleeps standing up too. But it uses all four legs though.

The flamingo also demonstrates its dumbosity at mealtime. They fish while holding their beaks upside down. Why? I bet they have a good reason, we’ll likely never know.

#1 Ostrich

Dumbest Animals in the World: Ostrich
The Ostrich, the dumbest animal, will eat absolutely everything!

©Harry Beugelink/

The ostrich is one of the largest birds in the world. With prehistoric looks, the towering ostrich can be 9 feet tall and weigh up to over 300 pounds! The skinny legs of the bird aid in its super speed, clocking at a sustained speed of 40 miles per hour. Another shocking fact is the ostrich has the largest eye diameter of any other bird. It’s strange to see such long necks, lanky legs, and big eyes on a bird.

And it’s not just the size that makes it stand out. It’s a flightless bird with small wings. Other birds that stick to the ground include the emu and the kiwi. The ostrich has a long neck and long legs. The ostrich, primarily roaming the plans of Africa, travels in social groups of up to 50.

While it’s argued that this creature has the capacity to show reasonable smarts, what makes it stand out as the dumbest bird is its reaction to threats. The bird is capable of running away and even hiding. The ostrich also can be aggressively defensive, having a serious clawed foot that’s killed lions with its kicks. But when push comes to shove, faced with an imposing threat, the ostrich will push its head at the ground (not shove it under the sand, as the legend goes), close its eyes, and go invisible. Well, the bird thinks it’s invisible. Their heads are the same color as sand, which at least acts as camouflage. They’re kind of stupid animals.

Honorable Mentions: More Animals You Might Consider Dumb

Dung Beetle on dung, close-up.

Can anybody lend me a hand?

©Michael Potter11/

While dumbness is in the eye of the observer, there are animals that for one reason or another just aren’t perceived as very bright by us humans. Here are a few more that are worthy of a tip of the hat for their low intelligence level:

  • Jellyfish These sea creatures actually have no brains (like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz)! How smart can you be without a brain? Instead of a central nervous system, they have simple nerve nets that only allow minor responses to stimuli, and they also lack hearts and bones. Wow!
  • Dung Beetle You’d be called dumb, too, if you spent the majority of your life wrestling with a ball of dung twice your size! But these beetles do serve us a purpose by helping in the decomposition and recycling of organic material.
  • Cassowary Can you get this bird some anger management therapy, please? No one has much respect for someone with ultra-low emotional intelligence, and this cray-cray cousin of the ostrich fits that bill. Its violent behavior includes charging, pecking, kicking, head-butting, and sometimes jumping on top of its foe. Should we sign this animal up for Wrestlemania?
  • Sea Sponges Not that there’s anything wrong with being a janitor, but…It’s a sponge. It has no nervous system or specialized organs. It filters in food with no effort. Yet, it’s been around for over 500 million years. Maybe that’s quite smart!

Watch the Fascinating Video Below!

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What is the Smartest Animal in the World?

Orangutan deep in thought

Orangutans share 97% of their DNA with humans

©Everything I Do/

The orangutan is the smartest animal in the world – second only to humans. This intelligent cousin can learn sign language, use tools, and has complex social structures including rituals. With the ability to understand the concept of “why” and the reasoning behind actions, these great apes rank at the top of the class! Unfortunately, these natives of Indonesia are critically endangered because of the loss of habitat.

Summary of the Dumbest Animals in the World

3Panda Bear
6Goblin Shark
10Kane Toad
11Norwegian Lemming
12Japanese Land Snail
13Slow Loris
14Northern Fulmar Chick
15Secretary Bird
16Horned Lizard
17Komodo Dragon

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About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

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