People debate how intelligent this or that animal is.
I have only one criterion for how intelligent an animal is: Do they fathom the existence and use of GATES?
If you own livestock, you know precisely what I’m talking about. Smart animals know about gates. Dogs know about gates. They know how to find them; they know how to go through them.
But then we have the… well, let’s not call them stupid, but let’s call them the less-intelligent animals.
I love my Red Bourbon Heritage Turkeys, and cherish walking with them… they follow me like ducks.
But heaven help that I should go through a gate.
Any turkey not within 6 inches of me when I go through the gate becomes utterly oblivious as to where I went and how I got there. The turkeys walking ahead of me are now past the gate and have NO idea how to return to it. (Turn around, goobers! The gate opening is 6 INCHES BEHIND YOU!)
The turkeys more than a foot or two behind me are still standing beside the fence, and will now start to go backward and look through the fence at their turkey-mates who actually made it through the gate with me.
And neither the turkeys who were ahead of me nor the turkeys who were behind me have the slightest clue as to how to WALK TWO FEET to get to the still wide-open gate and come through. Total mystery.
No, I have to retrace my steps back into the pen and go to each group and try to herd them out. Of course, when I go back through the gate to get the stragglers, the original geniuses who made it through the gate with me immediately turn around and follow me back into the original pen and thus we’re all back where we started from.
THAT’s how I evaluate animal intelligence, or the lack thereof.