What are the Smartest Rodents?| A Comprehensive List

Rodents are some of the smartest creatures on the planet.

They can solve complex puzzles, remember intricate maze patterns, and even use tools to obtain food.

Additionally, they have very good eyesight and hearing, which helps them to quickly notice changes in their environment.

This allows them to quickly adapt to new situations and learn from their mistakes.

rodent standing in the corner of a room

The capybara, beaver, muskrat, squirrel, and rat make it to our list of the smartest rodents known.

They are incredibly the most intelligent that have shown themselves to be capable of complex thought and behavior.

These rodents have demonstrated their intelligence in a variety of ways, showing that they are some of the smartest creatures on the planet.

Rodent Brain

Rodent brains are significantly smaller than human brains.

What is remarkable, though, is that rat brains were discovered to have comparable structure and functionality to the human brain, according to a study.

For years, people thought rats were blind. However, research has proved that rats’ vision and processing capabilities are sophisticated enough for them to identify 3D objects despite changes in size or orientation.

Their Behavior

There are several natural rodent behaviors that suggest a certain level of intellect.

Mice, for example, employ a variety of methods to communicate with one another.

They may communicate using their distinctive squeaks and chirps, known as ultrasonic vocalizations.

Mice use their urine and body language, such as tail drumming, to communicate.

Urinary pheromones can spread important information, while bodily gestures such as tail drumming might indicate aggressiveness.

Rodents are social creatures. Rats are believed to live in groups, and a group of rats is referred to as mischief.

They take part in social activities and tend to show aggression to rats who do not belong to their group.

Lab Rodents

Rats have been used in psychological experiments for more than a century, owing to their similar brain structure and decision-making capabilities.

Researchers claim that rats are better able to recognize a pattern and stay with it than humans, which makes them less likely to second-guess themselves.

Mice have been long regarded as less intelligent than rats, despite the fact that recent research is debunking this notion.

Studies show that mice and rats have similar decision-making capabilities.

This implies that mice can be conditioned like rats in the lab and utilized to investigate and comprehend human conduct.

Top 5 Smartest Rodents in the World

There are many rodents that are considered to be smart, but there are a few that stand out above the rest.

Their behavior and ability to adapt to their environments set them apart from the other rodents.


Rats are definitely on this list of smartest rodents. They are known for their intelligence and adaptability.

They have been used in psychological experiments for more than a century owing to their similar brain structure and decision-making capabilities to humans.

They work together to solve problems, and they have excellent spatial and operational memory.

They know how to empathize and even look after their wounded partners.


The capybara is a large rodent that is native to South America. It is the largest living rodent in the world, weighing up to 140 pounds.

The capybara is a highly intelligent creature that has excellent eyesight and hearing, which allows them to quickly adapt to new situations.

capybara standing in a majestic manner

They are also very social animals, living in large groups in the wild.

These rodents make a variety of noises and vocalizations to communicate with each other, either to alert them of danger or to interact with others.


The beaver is found in North America and Europe. They are known for their ability to build dams and lodges using sticks and mud.

Beavers are also excellent swimmers, thanks to their webbed feet and flat tails. They have very sharp incisors that they use to cut down trees.

Beavers are quite adaptable and capable of modifying their surroundings to meet their requirements.

Beavers’ dams aren’t only strong enough to contain a river’s flow, but they also modify them depending on the current’s nature.

The dam is straight if the water is weak, but it will be built in a convex form to resist the impact if it’s a fast current.

The primary goal of these dams, in addition to being predator-free, is to provide a safe haven for swimming and gathering food for the winter without issue.

In addition, when the water freezes, floating branches on the surface prevent it from totally freezing, allowing beavers to exit their burrows if necessary.


The muskrat is a rodent that is found in North America that has an uncanny resemblance to beavers.

And just like beavers, muskrats are excellent swimmers and also build burrows. Muskrats are known for their thick fur coats, which help to keep them warm in their cold-water habitats.

It can survive in almost any setting thanks to its tolerance of brackish and freshwater, as well as its omnivorous diet.


Squirrels are known for their agility and climbing ability.

They are also proficient swimmers and considered one of the most intelligent rodents because of their ability to predict the nutritional demands they’ll have during the winter. 

To do this, they would bury and collect the exact amount of food they would be needing.

Read More: How to Dispose of a Live Mouse Safely?

Why Rats Are the Smartest of Them All

Rats are not only one of the brightest rodents on the planet, but they are also among the ten smartest animal species.

Rats have the ability to evaluate and assess situations based on their knowledge and experience of the situation, according to scientists.

Metacognition is a term that refers to a rat’s capacity to think about its own actions. While rats’ brains are less complicated than humans’, they operate in similar ways.


Rats can learn tricks similar to dogs and other animals with a high level of intellect. In reality, these tiny creatures adore learning.

It allows them to demonstrate their abilities to their owners and show what they can do. Rats may be trained like your pet dog by using rewards and encouragement.

They will come when called, jump through hoops, or race through a maze if their owners are kind and loving towards them.

Socialization and Communication

Rats need to interact with other rats. While these rodents enjoy the presence of their human owners, they also have a need to interact with their own kind. You could even notice how they

two rats roaming around on a brick surface


Rats also form attachments with their owners. The more time a pet rat spends with its owner, the more it adores them.

When shown affection, rats frequently return it. They will snuggle up to their owner and occasionally groom them to demonstrate how much they care.

You may hear your rat bruxing when it is happy.

Bruxing is a type of purring in which the teeth are ground together as a sign of contentment for the rodent.


In certain tests, researchers have discovered that rats are concerned for the safety of other rats.

These little animals have shown that they will avoid receiving their rewards in experiments and instead try to assist another rat in need.

They also know when another rat is in agony. In an attempt to assist, they will react if they believe their family is in danger.


Rats are clever, and they can recognize emotional cues in the faces of other rats.

They’re so sharp that they can even identify their names and respond when called.

Final Thoughts

Smaller animals may be in danger of dying several times a day.

As a result, many species must rely on their brains in the absence of strength or natural weapons.

It’s been demonstrated that rodents have exceptional intellect, which is defined as the capacity to adjust to their surroundings.

The capybara, beaver, muskrat, squirrel, and rat are among the world’s most intelligent rodents.

These rodents have shown their intellect in a variety of ways to demonstrate that they are some of the brightest animals on earth.