What is the smartest reptile?

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It’s always fascinating to learn and interact with most of the species that belong to this class of pets. Apart from popular friends to man (cats and dogs), it’s increasingly common to find reptile pets in American households. Are reptiles the smartest reptile?

The top inquiry from potential reptile pet owners is the classification of reptiles to what is the smartest reptile. Most people naturally tend to go for the most intelligent as opposed to the dumbest reptile. We will discuss three broad categories of reptiles to help you judge the smartest of them all.

Lizards and Crocodilians

Lizards and Crocodilians belong to the same group of quadruped reptiles whose evolution and intelligence have proven them to be far more complicated than traditionally believed. We shall break this group further to help you pinpoint what is the smartest reptile that matches your taste for a pet.

Is Bearded dragon the smartest reptile

How smart are bearded dragons? There is no better way to answer this than consider how they interact whit their owner. It is brilliant how bearded dragons can recognize their owners and those people that often feed them by use of smell and sight.

When owners or feeders enterer the bearded dragon’s cage, without resistance, the bearded dragon will enjoy their touch and holding with pleasure. However, an intruder will be met with anger, resistance, and an attempt to escape.

These intelligence traits make the bearded dragon the right candidate for your pet.

Monitor lizard. The smartest reptile?

The monitor lizard intelligence makes it arguably the most intelligent reptile on planet earth. Just like the bearded dragon, studies show that the monitor lizard can identify their human keepers or owners by sight.

The most exciting traits of the monitor lizard include;

  • Ability to learn how to count snails at feeding time,
  • Displaying of distinct personality traits that enable humans to precisely distinguish them from each other, and
  • ability to use their forearms, especially when extracting insects from logs or tight spaces.

These fantastic abilities almost make the monitor lizard a definition of what is the smartest reptile ideal for petting.

The frill-neck lizard

The frill-neck lizard is a beauty to behold kind of a reptile for a pet. Its frill makes it look like a classically themed dressing that was common during the renaissance times. The lizard deploys open its frills as a means of scaring away predators and intruders when in danger.

The other significant feature of the frill-neck lizard is its ability to run on twos like a human. Yes, it runs on two feet at a fast pace when it means business.

As a pet, it will be a thriller for your guests to see a lizard committed to being like a man.

The Green Anole

The Green Anole is a native of the southern United States and the Caribbean. Their unique feature is a dewlap (a fold of skin under the chin/neck) that the lizard opens to show dominance and temperament. As a pet owner, it will be quick for you to see signs of aggression or fear by how the dewlap opens and closes.

One particular trait about the Green Anole is that they are little and active but likes almost zero handlings. If you ever catch the green anole by the tail and dangle it, it will drop its tail to be free. Dropping of its tail is a defense mechanism to avoid danger and later grow its tail. Its tail will, however, never be the same. 


Are snakes intelligent?

Snakes commonly express their intelligence while hunting and tracking down their prey. Their ability to swim, climb trees, or even luring prey into a trap by wiggling its tail to appear like a juicy insect makes snake claim the title of what is the smartest reptile.

The King Cobra

King cobra is one of the most feared reptiles. Being commonly found in tropical areas of the world like Southern Asia and Africa, this agile snake has learned to climb trees and swim through streams and ponds.

Cited as one of the smartest snakes, king cobra depicts a high degree of strategy when taking down their prey. Unlike other snakes, kind cobra evaluates its prey and targets the most lethal place to strike. Prey is often not lucky with a king cobra.


Is this large and venomous snake commonly found through North and South America qualified to be what is the smartest reptile? Evidence continues to accumulate, indicating that rattlesnakes are more intelligent and social than previously thought.

Studies show that the social rattlesnakes cooperate and make friendships amongst themselves, lay together, and even babysit for each other.

Someone may be tempted to think that rattlesnakes’ social nature complicates their hunting where each lays claim to a given prey. This is far from the truth. The high intelligence of rattlesnakes has made them accurate decision-makers who can tell who has been bitten by whom.

Here is another fact about rattlesnake hunting. These snakes do not risk their life or waste their calories in fighting their prey. Once rattlesnakes deliver an accurate strike and inject venom, they let the prey go. Only to follow the victims’ trail precisely to when venom could overcome them.

Chelonians (Turtles and Tortoises)

These legendary ‘slow’ animals are not that slow in decision making for survival. Their mastery of their immediate environment using their unique sensory abilities of the ground.

The most superior intelligence about the Chelonians (turtles and tortoises) is how, 30 years later, the female sea turtles are able to migrate back to a beach they were born at to lay eggs of their own. They are even able to tell a nest without debris to lay eggs without even looking at it.

The extreme sensitivity of these reptiles to smell, touch, and possibly earth magnetic fields could indicate why they are considered part of the smartest reptiles.

The Snapping turtle

We have singled out the snapping turtle because of its additional facts that have been established after domestication.

Snapping turtle pet owners have reported that these reptiles are able to learn and identify their feeding containers by site and tell when food is being poured into it even when out of sight. As you could guess, domesticated turtles will always try to escape their cages when their season of laying eggs arrive.

Once domesticated, turtles, if released to the wild, will instinctually head in the direction of the nearest water body.

Above all, the ability of turtles to adapt to a wide range of environments if a significant proof that they have special intelligence in the reptile world.


Reptiles have a varied range of adaptive features and traits dependent on their social setup, the physical environment, and physical features. It’s no doubt that most reptiles, as discussed above, will even exhibit more distinct intelligence traits even as more studies are done on them.

In my choice of a pet, I will need to consider the space available and how close I will need to be to the pet on a day to day interaction. Going for an intelligent, independent, and survivor pet, I choose the monitor lizard.

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