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I may be of the mind that no animal is truly dumb, but I’ll admit certain animals are less like Einstein and more like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo. On the smart side, there are dogs that can bring you a soda or turn on the lights. On the dumb side, there are ostriches with walnut-sized brains. 

We’d like to take you on a journey to meet the dumbest animals in the world. Animals like certain types of birds, toads, and sharks have questionable brain functions. Let’s just say they’re not the brightest crayons in the box.

If you’re an animal freak

like me, you might take offense to this article, but hopefully, you’ll realize there is a range of intelligence in animals just like there is in humans. 

Dumbest Animals in the World

“Dumb” is such a strong word, especially when you’re talking about animals, but let’s just say some are smarter than others. When you think of smarties, you might think of “border collie” or “chimpanzee,” but did you know that some animals don’t even know when to come in from the rain?

Let’s meet some of the dumbest animals in the world. The bonus is they should make you feel really smart.   

1. Panda

Pandas are the rarest bear species and rarely mate. It’s why there’s such a ruckus when one is born in a zoo. (You’d think Santa Claus was actually coming to town.) But does that make them dumb? It depends on whom you ask.

If you see it as dumb, it’s probably because you think mating is such an innate, natural thing to do. To procreate is generally enjoyable, arguably, for every species. But that’s not all…

Pandas also eat bamboo. This alone doesn’t make them dumb, but it does when their bodies aren’t made to digest it well. They must just love the taste, and they eat a ton of it – 26 to 84 lbs. per day. Geez! 

Their metabolism is low, which causes them to move slowly, and that can make them look even dumber. Plus, they’re not exactly “Type A” personalities. Far from it.

They get along just fine eating and sleeping (up to 20 hours a day), oh, and marking their territory. All. Day. Long. An adult panda bear doesn’t really have predators like other animals, so they don’t need to outrun anybody.

Even when they forage, they only move about 50 feet per hour – Not exactly marathon sprint-worthy. In their defense, giant panda moms watch their cubs for about 18 months until they conceive again. And I think we all know how hard it is to be a stay-at-home mom.       

2. Goblin Shark

dumb animals

When you think of smart animals, you don’t normally think “Shark!” and the Goblin shark is a perfect representative of being one of the dumbest animals in the world.

I can’t decide whether this shark looks revolting, scary, or so-ugly-it’s-cute, but since beauty isn’t the topic here, let’s move along.

Let’s face it: living between 890 and 4,265 feet below sea level might make anyone dumb. Goblin sharks are rarely seen, don’t like to interact with other creatures, and prefer to exist alone. (“What’s so dumb about that?” I ask as a writer who spends most of my waking hours alone at my laptop.)

These sharks are not aggressive and move slowly and sluggishly. They feed on squid and fish, and the only possible predator they might meet is the blue shark.

When they spot their lunch, their jaws completely unhinge and extend out of their mouths to snatch the prey. It’s kind of gross, and they’re certainly one of the only species that behave this way.

Female goblins don’t spend time with their young. When their offspring are born, young goblin sharks immediately become active predators. No “Mom of the Year” award being given here.

The good news is, there are no reported incidents of these alien-like creatures attacking a human. Sounds pretty smart, in my opinion.    

3. Ostrich

dumbest animal

Those legs. That neck. The humongous eyes. Ostriches just look dumb. I know that’s harsh, but I call it like it is. But their actions will make you scratch your head, too.

Ostrich nests are just clearings on the ground. Wide open clearings, I might add. Everything from African wild dogs to cheetahs to lions can just pop by and eat up.

It’s better than a fast-food drive-through. I mean, couldn’t they find a tree, a rock, something to try to disguise their large eggs? Only about 10% of nests will reach maturity.

Their answer to having so many of their chicks eaten like nuggets is to procreate. A lot. During the breeding season, males and females are quite promiscuous. But no judgment here!   

Ostriches are the largest birds on Earth, and their legs and claws can produce kicks and cuts that are quite impressive. Their main defense mechanism is running. And the word that pops into my mind when I picture them running is “goofy.”

I guess if I could run over 40 mph, I’d be sprinting for the hills, too, no matter what I looked like. Did you know they’re the fastest 2-legged land animal?

These birds, native to Africa, don’t have teeth but have really long eyelashes. Quite the dichotomy. Additionally, an ostrich’s eyes are bigger than their brain. Go figure.     

4. Koala

dumbest animal in the world

Aw, the cute, sweet, furry little koala… is dumb? Let’s look into this further. Koalas aren’t bears; they’re marsupials that are related to kangaroos. And so begins the dumbness. (But that would be on us, no?)

They’re not an endangered species but are listed by the IUCN as “Vulnerable,” which is one level before “Endangered.”

These cuties have two opposable thumbs on their fore paws, yet they’re only used for better gripping to climb tree branches. Their fur does repel water, but koalas, who are often seen eating very slowly or staring into space, aren’t looking around for the nearest shelter. They eat, sleep, and do whatever else koalas do in trees.

Plus, they spend most of their time, except for mating and raising their young, on their own. No party in the treehouse for these guys. Koalas eat for 3-4 hours a day, and what do they do with the rest of their time? Sleep. (Sounds like a plan to me.)

Their fur feels like wool and is rain-resistant, and their diet consists of 1-1.5 lbs. of eucalyptus each day. No steak or potatoes for these marsupials. So maybe they’re boring. We’ll translate that to “dumb” for the sake of this article.    

5. Turkey

what is the dumbest animal

A turkey sat on a backyard fence as he sang his sad, sad tune…Thanksgiving Day is coming gobble gobble gobble gobble, and I know I’ll be eaten soon. Just a little tune they taught us in elementary school. A bit macabre, but whatever.

Turkeys have monocular vision, their eyes are far apart, so they need to tilt their heads to see something. This can appear to be about as dumb as it gets. So they have widely-spaced eyes… So they look up into the sky when it’s raining… So they walk like they just left a bar… That is often why they’re called “dumb.”

Think they’re a flightless bird? Wild turkeys can fly in short bursts, but those some of you eat on your Thanksgiving table are twice as big, so no flights for those birds.   

And you know those fleshy appendages that hang over a turkey’s beak? They’re called “snoods,” and they’re for finding the right mate. Both male turkeys and females have a snood, but the female’s is far smaller.

Get this: Turkeys can see three times better than humans. Okay, that’s a biological thing, but still. As a vegetarian, I think these birds are rather smart to be able to still be in existence today. But I still think they should work on that walk.    

6. Kakapo

what's the dumbest animal

Popular Science calls them “quirky.” For those of you who aren’t in the know, which would include me until today, kakapos (aka parrot owl) are birds from New Zealand that don’t fly.

Sure, they appear to be lazy, but they can’t help that their feathers can’t make them fly. They’re also the heaviest parrots in the world, coming in at a whole six pounds.

They do climb trees, thank goodness, and forage for seeds and nuts on the ground. The kakapo is critically endangered due to hunting, and there’s nothing funny about that.

They can live for up to 90 years, so something tells me they can’t be that dumb. But this is an article about the dumbest animals in the world, so moving along…

Today, kakapos are returning to the mainland, and conservation efforts are increasing their numbers. I love a story with a happy ending.  

7. Cane Toad

stupid animals

Warty? Check. Poisonous? Check. Dumb? We’ll see. Animal fact of the day – A group of cane toads is called a knot. They can look downright scary with their downturned mouths and hooded eyes and can reach up to 10” in body length. Gross. 

They’re an invasive species and natives of Central and South America. They’ve made it to the States though. They don’t mess around as they poison anything that tries to eat them and have wreaked havoc on wildlife and pets. 

Their fingers are not webbed, but their toes are. Just don’t ask me to point out which are which. I’ll go out on a limb and say they’re on these dumbest animals in the world list since they don’t seem to do much at all except poison things. Not real smart in my book.   

8. Horned Lizard

whats the dumbest animal

This animal is a reptile that lives in the desert or semi-arid environments. Their most unique feature, horns, are on their heads and highly noticeable. Their bodies are full of spines.

They’re prey for many other creatures, including snakes, hawks, cats, dogs, and mice, and they have unusual defensive mechanisms. 

They can squirt a stream of blood at predators from the corner of their eyes. No joke. They’re the type of animal that does nothing except try to survive.

You could call that dumb, or you could say they’re just using the tools they have to get through this world. I’ll go with the latter.          

9. Komodo Dragon

what is the dumbest land animal

If an alligator and a dinosaur had a baby, it might be the Komodo dragon. This is the animal with the tongue that darts around like an anteater’s to help him smell things.

The Louisville Zoo says, “They have poor eyesight and hearing but have a keen sense of smell.” They’re now listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This intimidating lizard sometimes eats members of its own species, young or old. (Even I consider that to be dumb.) Although attacks on humans are rare, they have happened, and a few have been fatal incidents. 

They’re unusually quick, and their bite is venomous, and that, mixed with the way they look, is enough to give you nightmares. They often kill deer, pigs, and cattle.

They’re the largest lizard species in the world, and males can grow to be 10 feet long. As carnivores, their mouth full of 60 sharp teeth makes killing even easier. I think it’s safe to say if you see one, go the other way.   

10. Lilac-breasted Roller

the dumbest animal

If you could be gorgeous, but you had to be dumb, too, would you? This bird is stunning. And surprise, males and females have the same coloring. Generally, males in the animal kingdom are the more flashy ones.

Their colors are turquoise, dark blue, yellow, black, white, green, and reddish brown, with lilac being, of course, on their breast. They can be 14”-15” long, including their tails which have black “streamers” at the ends. 

These birds have a weird mating ritual. They fly up about 30 feet and then come speeding straight down with their wings closed while being extremely vocal. They also tend to roll as they fly, which gives them their name.

If their aerial “entertainment” is successful, the birds will mate in the air. Otherwise, they’re eating grasshoppers and beetles. One of the dumbest animals in the world? That’s your call.  


What Is the #1 Dumbest Animal?

Komodo dragons, Cane toads, and Goblin sharks are among the dumbest. Which one is first would be relative.

Are Pandas the Dumbest Animals?

If you consider sleeping for most of the day (up to 20 hours), having low energy, and eating eucalyptus (toxic to humans) for the remaining hours, then yes, they are.

Who Are the Less Intelligent Animals?

The horned lizard, koala bear, ostrich, and turkey are three of many more animals that people think are dumb. 


I think there are way more people who are dumb than there are animals. Dumb animals also teach us a lesson… to not judge a book by its cover. We don’t know if koalas are actually looking for a cure for cancer in those low-nutrient eucalyptus leaves, so who am I to call them “dumb.” 

That said, mating in the air doesn’t sound very efficient. And sleeping for 20 hours a day would be wasting our lives away.

But if you believe Mark Twain when he said, “It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions,” I’d call you pretty smart!

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