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It’s no secret that crows have been observed using twigs to help them access food. What’s more exciting is that now, researchers have observed crows using their beaks to whittle a hook at the ends of these twigs for even easier access to food in tight spaces. In fact, crows have also shown that they’re capable of combining different tools together to make an even more useful one. In a lab experiment, four different crows deduced that they could access larvae in a box if they combined several short sticks into a singular long one in order to push the larvae out of the box and eat them.
Read this next: Like Humans, Crows Have Favorite Tools
Elephants are incredibly smart creatures who not only have excellent memories, but are also capable of innovative thinking when it comes to problem-solving. The giant animals have been seen using their trunks to pick up and hold sticks in order to scratch an itch. They have also been observed using sticks and leaves to swat away flies. Elephants have also shown real-time problem-solving skills, which requires high-level cognition, in successfully completing the “floating object task.”
They may look cute and fluffy, but shrikes are actually pretty smart (and vicious!). These birds are known for catching and impaling prey on sharp protrusions, such as pointy twigs, thorns, and even barbed wire. Several animals—including worms, lizards, small rodents, other birds, and even snakes—have fallen prey to the appetite of a shrike. The next time you see a shrike, remember, you’re staring at a ferocious executioner.
Check this out: Crows Are Self-Aware and Capable of Analytical Thought
It’s no secret that dolphins are intelligent creatures (at one point, the CIA even wanted to use them to help sink enemy ships!). So smart, in fact, that they’re capable of using objects in their surroundings as hunting tools. In order to prevent injuries to their snouts when looking for food, some dolphins carry around a basket sponge to help them forage and dig into the ocean floor. The sponge protects the dolphins from sharp rocks and coral that would otherwise nick their faces. Talk about ingenious.
Sea otters do not mess around when it comes to their food. It’s well- documented that these creatures will use rocks to bludgeon—read: loosen—food from its perch. Here, a sea otter is seen using a rock to shake an abalone shell loose for a quick snack. But tool use in sea otters doesn’t stop there; these creatures will also use rocks to crack open shells containing food like clams and mussels. Sea otters are also currently known as the only marine mammals that use stone tools.
These incredible, alien-like creatures are among the smartest animals in the world—and for good reason. Octopuses are masters of disguise, not only using their color-changing chromatophores to camouflage themselves from danger or to blend in, but also using the environment around them to successfully hunt for food. As you can see here, it’s not unheard of for an octopus to use empty shells as a hiding place while unsuspecting prey swim past, completely unaware of the sneak attack coming their way.
🐙 Dive Deeper: 7 Incredible Octopus Facts That’ll Make You Love Cephalopods
Chimps are master tool-users and have been known to use stones to crack open nuts, and to use sticks and grass to “fish” for crawly snacks like ants and termites. Chimps in the wild also share tools with each other and teach their young how to utilize tools for things like hunting and defending themselves against attackers.
Daisy writes for Runner’s World, Bicycling, and Popular Mechanics.
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