How smart are animals? For example, can they learn by watching a human do something first? Do they recognize themselves in a mirror? Here's the latest animal intelligence:

  • Do animals recognize themselves in the mirror? Researchers marked the foreheads of a variety of animals and put them in front of a mirror. The result: Monkeys, cats, and rats reacted as if they saw another member of their species, and showed no curiosity about the mark. But dolphins, elephants, and apes realized they were looking at themselves. The elephants even experimented, turning their heads and watching how the mirror image reacted. One elephant used the mirror to guide her trunk so she could examine the X on her forehead. Why is this important? Because it shows that elephants, dolphins and chimps have self-awareness.

  • Using tools and weapons has long been considered a mark of higher intelligence and chimps get high marks. Researchers have seen chimps in various parts of the world use sticks to beat other chimps, wield stones to crack open nuts, and fashion sticks into spears, and use them to hunt!

  • Researchers found that an adult cat has the IQ of a toddler and both dogs and cats learn by observing humans. In one experiment in Hungary, dogs operated a ball-dispensing machine after watching people use it. It also explains how some cats learn to flush toilets.

  • So, how much can pets remember? Studies show that cats have better memories than monkeys and orangutans. Fish can remember things for up to three years! Dogs retain strong associations. So if your dog hates car trips, maybe it’s because the only time you give him a ride is to the vet!

  • Finally, experts say some parrots are as smart as a five-year-old child. They can learn colors, shapes and numbers up to six, and identify objects when you say the word. So if you’ve got a pet parrot, make sure they get a lot of mental stimulation, from playful interaction to puzzle toys.