14 Dumbest Animals in The World | Fun Facts

The animal kingdom is made up of a huge variety of amazing animals, some of which are very intelligent while others are slightly less brainy. Others are just stupid looking, or are known to act in ridiculous ways. Even if they are the amongst the dumbest animals in the world, you can’t help but think they’re cute for just how daft they are.

The Most Stupid Animal in the World

Whether it’s due to low intellect, unusual hunting strategies, or just unfortunate physical features that put them on the back foot when it comes to surviving in the wild, his article highlights dumb animals found all over the world, with all of them portraying stupidity in different but equally fascinating ways. However, in saying that, we still love them all!

List of the Dumbest Animals

Below are 14 of the world’s dumbest animals, covering mammals, birds and reptiles. Each one explains key characteristics based on their appearance, behaviour, habitat range, and most importantly, why they made this captivating and often hilarious list. 

Although mammals are generally perceived as the most intelligent group of animals (think chimpanzees, dolphins, and pigs), there are certainly some species that miss the mark.  

1. Koala

Koala relaxing in a tree
Credit: Bigdee by CC: 3.0

Scientific Name: Phascolarctos cinereus 

The koala is often called the koala bear, although this is incorrect since they are a marsupial. They range from chocolate brown to grey-silver in colour. They have round fluffy ears and a black, spoon-shaped nose. 

Koalas are herbivores and eucalyptus leaves make up the bulk of their plant-based diet. They consume around 3 pounds of leaves daily, although this diet is nutrient-poor. When they are not eating, they are sleeping. Koalas spend around 22 hours a day asleep. 

Koalas are listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss and the wide spread of chlamydia through many populations, which causes female infertility. They can live up to 15 years old in the wild. 

Among mammals, koalas have one of the lowest brain-to-body mass ratios. Their brain is smooth (lissencephalic), meaning they lack deep-level understanding and the ability to perform complex behaviours. 

The koala is native to Eastern Australia. 

2. Sloth

Two-toed sloth hanging from a tree branch
Credit: Geoff Gallice by CC: 2.0

Scientific Name: Choloepus hoffmanni

There are two genera of sloths, the two-toed sloths, and the three-toed sloths. The names correlate to the number of digits they have on their forelimbs. The ‘toes’ are long, curved claws that they use to climb and hang onto tree branches. 

Sloths have long limbs, stumpy tails, and rounded heads. Their ears are not visible and they have large, round noses that somewhat resemble a pig-like snout. They are covered in long, thick, light-brown fur, although it often has a green tint, which is the algae that grow on their fur. 

Algae growth occurs on their fur because they move incredibly slowly. This is a result of their plant-based diet, which is incredibly low-calorie, so they must move slowly to conserve energy and spend a lot of time sleeping.

Once a week, sloths will climb down from their tree, dig a small hole in the ground with their tail nubbin and defecate. This is the time they are most vulnerable to predators and why they assume this behaviour is unknown. 

Sloths are considered dumb animals by many, due to the abundance of documented cases of sloths falling to their deaths because they mistook their own limb for a branch. 

3. Panda Bear

Panda Bear
Panda Bear standing on the ground
Credit: J. Patrick Fischer by CC: 3.0

Scientific Name: Ailurapoda melanoleuca 

The panda bear boasts a striking and iconic black and white fur coat. They have large bulky bodies and round faces with round ears, which gives them a somewhat endearing appearance. Pandas are one of the rarest bear species in the world. 

Around 99% of their diet is bamboo. This plant is incredibly low in nutritional value and pandas cannot digest the cellulose in bamboo. As a result, pandas spend up to 16 hours a day eating, just to ensure they obtain enough nutrients.

Panda’s have an enlarged wrist bone, which acts like a thumb. This provides them with the dexterity to pick and hold bamboo leaves, stems and shoots. They pass waste around 50 times a day. 

Naturally, pandas are solitary animals, apart from during the breeding season. They are restricted to mountainous regions in China that have large bamboo forests. They are lazy and clumsy mammals. 

Despite their lack of natural predators and abundance of bamboo, panda bear populations are struggling due to difficulties associated with their reproduction. 

Female pandas ovulate once a year and there is only a two or three-day span in which she can conceive. Male pandas also have one of the smallest penises relative to body size in the animal kingdom. These factors make the whole affair of reproduction rather difficult.  

4. Giraffe

Giraffe in the plains of South Africa
Credit: Caitlin Watson

Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis

Giraffes are most easily recognized by their characteristic long neck. They are covered in yellow-brown fur that is adorned with irregular brown patches. They have two bony horns on the top of their small, oblong head.  

New shoots and leaves constitute a large part of this hoofed-mammals diet. They obtain these from the tops of thorny acacia trees. Their mouth and tongue are lined with thick, tough tissues that protect them against the thorns. 

Giraffes reside in open grasslands across East Africa, and many are also found in reserves across South Africa. 

The tall statue of giraffes is also their downfall. Despite only having seven vertebrates in their neck, they are extremely elongated.  Their long neck and legs mean it’s difficult for them to reach down to the ground, and to do so they must spread their front legs wide, which puts them in a position that is vulnerable to predators.  

5. Norwegian Lemming

Norwegian Lemming
Norwegian Lemming on the ground
Credit: Fahrtenleser by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Lemmus lemmus 

Lemmings are small rodents that somewhat resemble hamsters. They have rounded, stocky bodies with short legs and stumpy tails. They have a red-brown back, yellow flanks, a black head, and white cheeks. 

Almost any type of vegetation from buds to grasses to twigs is consumed by this herbivore. They are solitary creatures, apart from during migration when they migrate en mass. Unlike most rodents, they do not hibernate but relocate to warmer areas. 

Norwegian lemmings travel great distances in an erratic fashion in all directions. This swarming movement led to the popular belief that lemmings commit mass suicide. This is not entirely true, although the large movement often results in the death of many lemmings. 

Lemmings in migration may die due to not being able to find suitable habitat, or through being pushed off cliff edges or drowned. 

The Norwegian lemming resides in the Arctic tundra throughout Siberia and North America. They live in underground tunnels and burrows that are hidden underneath the snow and dug out with their forked claws. 

6. Slow Loris

Slow Loris
Slow Loris clinging to a tree branch
Credit: Gunay M. E. by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Nycticebus bancanus 

Slow lorises are small and fluffy creatures that vary between light brown to red-brown. They have rounded heads with large eyes and a small snout. 

There are 9 species of slow loris and the Javan slow loris is the only known venomous primate. It has glands under its armpits that produce venom which creates a necrotic bite when mixed with saliva.

Insects, small vertebrates, and fruits make up this animal’s diet. They are nocturnal and spend most of the night foraging. During the day, they can be found sleeping or moving very slowly. 

The slow movements of the loris are deliberate, in order to disturb the surrounding foliage as little as possible. In the face of a predator, they will freeze and cover their face in an attempt to hide. 

7. Jerboa

Jerboa standing amongst the grass
Credit: Mohammad Amin Ghaffari by CC: 4.0

Species: Allactaga williamsi 

Jerboas are small rodents that have long and large ears. Their forearms are stumpy whilst their back legs and feet are very long, allowing them to walk upright and jump around, somewhat resembling a small kangaroo

When alarmed or travelling quickly, jerboas can leap up to 10 feet, earning them the name ‘kangaroo rat’. Although they can hop slowly on all fours, they tend to walk on their hind legs, using their long tail to help prop them up and balance. 

During the day jerboas rest in underground burrows. They are nocturnal and forage at night for insects, seeds, and plant matter rich in moisture. Jerboas are found throughout North Africa and Asia. They live in underground burrows and often plug the entrance with soil to retain moisture and keep hot air out. 

However, the jerboa seems to lack survival instinct. They are very poor at hunting for, saving, and protecting food from predators. They do not drink but rather obtain water by extracting moisture from their food. 

8. Flamingo

Flamingo standing in the water
Credit: Charles J. Sharp by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Phoenicopterus ruber

Flamingos boast an iconic pink plumage. The colour is derived from carotenoid pigments which are found in their diet of algae, shrimp, and other crustaceans. They have a thick, black bill that is curved downwards, and long, scaly legs

Frequently, flamingos can be observed standing on one leg, especially in the water and during cold weather. It is thought this stance is assumed to conserve body heat. 

Flamingos have an unusual foraging technique, in which they use their long neck to flip their head and beak upside down under the water, in order to catch shrimp. This unusual hunting strategy lends itself to classifying flamingos as one of the world’s dumbest animals. 

There are six species of flamingo, four of which can be found in North America whilst two are endemic to Africa and Asia. They frequent highly alkaline or saline bodies of water that lack vegetation.

9. Turkey

Turkey standing in the grass
Credit: Malcolm by CC: 2.0

Scientific Name: Meleagris gallopavo

The turkey is not the most attractive bird species to the human eye. They are domesticated game birds. Their feathers vary slightly in pattern and colour, although are predominantly dark brown with a bronze sheen to them. 

Turkeys have bald heads that are warty and bright red in colour, and their face is a vibrant blue. A red, fleshy piece of skin called a snood extends from the forehead and covers the bill. A bright red skin flap extends from the neck, known as a wattle. 

Domestic turkeys are raised for meat so cannot fly and get spooked easily by loud noises Turkeys eat mainly seeds and insects. 

Many people believe that when it rains, turkeys cannot help but stare gormlessly at the sky until they drown. However, turkeys stare into the sky due to an inherited condition called tetanic torticollar spasms. 

Wild turkeys are native to North America where they frequent open woodlands. Domesticated turkeys can be found across most of the world. 

10. Ostrich

Ostrich in the plains of South Africa
Credit: Caitlin Watson

Scientific Name: Struthio camelus 

The ostrich is the tallest and heaviest species of extant bird. They are flightless due to their large bodies. They have long legs and a neck with a small head. Their feathers are mainly black, and they have white plumes on the wings and tail.  

Ostriches have two-toed, powerful legs that can deliver dangerous kicks. They are the fastest bird on land, achieving speeds of around 72.5 km per hour. 

Vegetation makes up the majority of their diet, but they may also consume insects and can survive without water for extended periods of time. 

The ostrich lays the largest egg in the world out of all birds. The white eggs weigh 3 pounds and are around 6 inches in length. Their eyeballs are also incredibly large and take up the majority of their head. This leaves little room for their brain, which is smaller than their eyeballs. 

Ostriches inhabit the open plains of Africa.

11. Kakapo

Kakapo foraging on berries
Credit: Department of Conservation by CC: 2.0

Scientific Name: Strigops habroptilus 

The kakapo, also known as the owl parrot, is a giant flightless bird. They have rounded face that resembles an owl, have a posture like a penguin, and waddle like one too. Their plumage is a mix of vibrant and moss green. 

Berries, fruits, seeds, and other plant-based matter make up this bird’s diet. They inhabit a handful of island sanctuaries in New Zealand. 

Although parrots are incredibly smart birds, that kakapo does not follow suit. When they see a predator, they simply freeze in place instead of fleeing or fighting. This is because they evolved with no natural predators. 

Males entice females with a loud, booming mating call. However, this reverberates so widely that females can seldom find males. Currently, there are less than 200 kakapos left in the world.

12. Cane Toad

Cane Toad
Cane Toad sitting in the grass
Credit: Charles J. Sharp by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Bufo marinus 

Cane toads are large and heavy amphibians. They are green-brown in colour and covered in warts. The cane toad has venom-secreting poison glands (parotid glands) on each shoulder. When they are threatened, this poison is released.

The venom of cane toads can cause increased heartbeat, excessive salivation, convulsions, paralysis, and even death. Traditionally, tribes may ‘milk’ cane toads, coating their arrows in their poison. 

Both living and dead matter make up this toad’s diet and they will eat virtually anything. Frequently, cane toads can be observed humping anything, alive or dead. This includes rats, snakes, lizards, and carcasses. 

Female cane toads can lay 30,000 eggs at one time. The tadpoles that hatch are very toxic to any animal that eats them. 

Cane toads are widespread throughout Northern Australia, South America, and Central America. 

13. Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon
Komodo dragon walking along the ground
Credit: Thomas Fuhrmann by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Varanus komodoensis 

The Komodo dragon is the largest, extant species of lizard. They weigh around 300 pounds and grow 10 feet in length. They have thick, scaly skin that is stone-grey in colour and a yellow forked tongue. 

Females are capable of parthenogenesis, although young are predominantly produced by sexual reproduction. These lizards are carnivores and will eat other lizards, rodents, large mammals, birds, and carrion. 

Komodo dragons are aggressive and occasionally attack and kill human beings. They have a venomous bite that delivers toxins to their victim, inhibiting blood clotting so the victim bleeds to death. The bacteria from their mouth also plays a huge role in killing their victim. 

The appearance of a Komodo dragon is somewhat dumb-looking. These lizards do not know when to stop eating and if their bellies get too full, they will be slowed down. To overcome this, they vomit up their stomach contents. 

The Komodo dragon inhabits the tropical forests of Indonesian islands. 

14. Horned Lizard

Horned Lizard
Horned Lizard laying on the ground
Credit: Room237 by CC: 3.0

Scientific Name: Phrynosoma solare 

Horned lizards have round, flattened bodies, stumpy tails, and small heads. They are covered in spiky horns that are sandy brown in colour, providing cryptic colouration in their desert habitats across America. They range from 3 to 5 inches in length. 

To further conceal themselves, they wiggle their bodies to cover themselves in the sandy ground, leaving just their head exposed. They consume mainly ants, which they patiently wait for whilst buried in the sand. 

When threatened, they inflate their bodies and shoot blood from their eyes, which tastes horrible to any predators. Their unusual appearance gives them a somewhat dumb aura.