What is the dumbest animal in the world?

Have you ever sat around with your friends wondering, "Hey, Bob might be a bit of a knucklehead, but what animal would make him look like an Einstein?" Well, you're in luck - it's time to check out the dumbest animal in the world.

Ostriches are pretty dumb, but are they the dumbest?
Ostriches are pretty dumb, but are they the dumbest?  © 123RF/Pavel1964

Whether or not you have a friend named Bob is somewhat beyond the question, because the point is simple: This world is full of dimwits, both human and non-human, but there's one creature that out-dunces everyone.

It's a genuine shock when you find out just how "stupid" this animal is though, so hold on to your hats.

If you're curious which animal holds the world record for being the dimmest bulb in the box, you've come to the right place. TAG24 takes a look at who wears the crown as the dumbest animal in the world.

What is the world's dumbest and stupidest animal?

The humble Koala is one of, if not the dumbest creature to have ever walked the Earth. With brains the size of walnuts and smoother than a baby's behind, these fluffy Aussie darlings are so unintelligent that they quite often won't even recognize the eucalyptus in front of them as food.

They are dim-witted animals, and would rank very low (indeed, hardly at all) on the IQ scale. Dreamy and seemingly uncomprehending, while koalas are cute, they have a habit of staring vacantly out into space. Part of that, of course, is on account of their severely limited eyesight.

It has also come to light over the last few decades that the humble koala is a rather horny little devil, with sex-induced chlamydia being one of the biggest risks to their survival as a species. Koalas have also been known to starve themselves to death based almost entirely on their lack of intelligence.

What's important to note is that their diminished intelligence is largely related, and directly correlated to, the tiny brain-to-body ratio they possess - only about 0.2%. In comparison, humans have an approximate brain-to-body ratio of 1:40.

A marsupial, koalas no longer recognize their food, eucalyptus leaves, after they have fallen and become dispersed upon the ground. While this sounds like it could be part of their rapid decline in population, that wouldn't be the truth.

In fact, the fate of the koala - and the fact that they will likely be extinct within a few decades - is on account of actions taken by state and federal government in Australia, not because of their stupidity.

Koalas are some of the cutest, but dumbest animals in the world.
Koalas are some of the cutest, but dumbest animals in the world.  © 123RF/Lukasvejrik

Why is the dumbest animal so stupid?

Koalas are considered some of the stupidest animals because they have the lowest brain-to-body mass ratio of any mammal. While this doesn't mean that they're necessarily the dumbest animal in the world, it does put them at the top of the pack for the dumbest mammal in the world.

In addition to their brains being remarkably small, the surface of their brains are also incredibly smooth. As a result, even if their brains were bigger, they'd still have significantly limited cognitive ability due to a complete lack of cognitive pathways and receptors on and in their brains.

The fluffy fellows who hang out in Australia's trees, eating eucalyptus leaves all day, exist primarily eating, sleeping, and reproducing. They move slowly, are easily scared, and are so oblivious that they have been known to climb to the top of trees during bushfires. This latter point is another reason why their populations are in peril.

Ultimately, the koala had no need of intelligence before westerners invaded Australia in 1788. They co-existed with Indigenous peoples that inhabited the land, and had very few natural predators. It is only in today's changing world that their lack of brain power poses any risk.

What other animals are competing for world's dumbest animal?

Pandas are famous for being unbelievably dumb!
Pandas are famous for being unbelievably dumb!  © 123RF/Zengxl

Big-eared and sharp-clawed koalas aren't the only dumb animals out there in the world, and the animal world record can realistically be given to a variety of suitable candidates.

Here are a selection of other contenders for the dumbest animal in the world:

  • Sloth: A sloth's sluggishness and leisureliness, as well as its slow reaction speed, is often attributed to a lack of intelligence. Whether or not that is true in itself, the sloth is certainly a dumb animal - they have even been known to mistake their own arms for branches and, as a result, plummet from the treetops.

  • Panda: Peaceful, clumsy, and cuddly, pandas are as popular as they are entertaining. What makes them so charming and endearing is how ridiculously big and clumsy they are, and how susceptible they are to mishap. They regularly fall, somersault, and barrel roll around, and are certainly not high on the intelligence scale.

  • Turkey: In addition to their rather involuntary participation in Thanksgiving, turkeys are perhaps best known for being a few sandwiches short of a picnic. They are even said to choke on rain when it gets particularly heavy.

  • Quail: Quails may not immediately come to mind when you think of stupid animals, but it is widely believed that they are some of, if not the stupidest and dumbest birds in the world.

  • Manatee: The manatee has few natural enemies, but they also have equally few brain cells to enjoy. They are so dumb that they can barely hunt, fight, or flee when in danger. It's a good thing that they have so few enemies!
Dog "turns into bunny" with "jumping shoes" and triggers millions on TikTok
Dogs Dog "turns into bunny" with "jumping shoes" and triggers millions on TikTok

Many of these animals could easily have come in first place, but we chose the koala to be - at least in our opinion - the stupidest animal in the world because of their smooth brains and questionable decision-making skills.

Are koalas really the dumbest animals in the world?

The true definition of "dumbest animal" is, of course, entirely dependent on definition. While many tiny fish, bacteria, insects, and miniscule creatures are almost certainly more stupid than your average koala, we have limited this selection to more highly-functioning animals.

Of course, your average mollusk probably has fewer brain cells than a koala, but there is something endlessly fascinating about larger and more substantial animals that seem to lack intelligence. That's why we chose koalas, even if they are not technically the stupidest "living creatures".

So, is the koala dumber than all the others? Well, it's not proven, and hence the list of friends in the animal kingdom joining them. All of these creatures are similarly dumb, and deserve just as much credit! And they are also, for the most part, equally adorable.

Cover photo: 123RF/Pavel1964

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