6 Clever Animals That Use Tools to Make Life Easier

Humans are not the only creature capable of using tools.

Several animals have worked out how to convert objects like twigs and rocks into tools to aid them in crucial tasks such as nest building and food acquisition.

Here are some animals known to use tools to make their lives easier.


There are many creative tricks crows know, including extracting insects from logs with sticks and twigs, cracking walnuts in front of moving cars, and utilizing scrap paper as a rake or sponge.

A 2018 study found that crows can make compound tools, as the researchers witnessed birds attaching small things together to form a stick long enough to reach a food source. Interestingly, even young crows exhibit this behavior without having observed adults do so, implying that it is part of their natural behaviors.


Elephants have an incredible ability to use tools, using their dexterous trunk as an arm. They utilize branches to scratch areas of their bodies that their tail and trunk cannot reach, leaves to swat insects, and chew on bark to make it spongy enough to absorb precious water.

Elephants’ creative abilities, however, may be their most impressive accomplishment. Some zookeepers have given their elephants paintbrushes, and the sensitive beasts have demonstrated a strong desire to paint.


Dolphin intelligence is well known, but because they have flippers rather than hands, many specialists believed they did not employ tools. At least not until 1984, when bottlenose dolphins in Australia were observed pulling off pieces of sponge and wrapping them around their noses, presumably to prevent abrasions when hunting on the seafloor. This behavior is thought to be passed on matrilineally, from mother to daughter.

Dolphins have also learned how to trap fish inside conch shells and then swim to the surface, dumping the contents into their open mouths.

Bottlenose dolphins are the only cetaceans known to use tools, a behavior intimately associated with culture, cognition, and social learning. With the exception of humans, these animals spend more time using tools than any other species.

Read Also: Ancient Stone Tools Reveal Prehistoric Man’s Taste for Meat


The octopus has been hailed as the most intelligent invertebrate in the world, and its use of tools is frequently improvised.

Wild octopuses have been shown to build little dens and utilize stones as shields to protect the entrance.

The most remarkable and convincing case of octopus tool use occurred in 2009, when a few veined octopuses (Amphioctopus marginatus) were seen collecting discarded coconut shells in Indonesia.


Insects employ tools, particularly social insects like ants.

Leafcutter ants have even developed an advanced agricultural society, cultivating fungi to feed their larvae. The ants cut bits of leaves and other vegetation, such as grasses, and bring them to the fungus for use as a nutritional substrate.

The ants also transport rubbish from their fungal gardens and deposit it at a refuse dump. They occasionally utilize tools to bring liquid to their nests and will test novel materials to determine their effectiveness at absorbing liquid.


Despite the fact that rodents rarely use tools, beavers are one of the most well-known tool users. These animals build dams to defend themselves from predators while also providing easy access to food and mild swimming, with some dams reaching lengths of up to 2,790 feet. Beavers construct dams by cutting down trees and filling them with mud and stones.

Related Article: Smart Animals: Sea Otters Used Tools Even Before Dolphins and Humans Did, Study Says

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