This Brilliant Dolphin Has Outsmarted Her Trainers In One Amazing Way

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

Any animal lover knows that animals can be surprisingly, and impressively, intelligent.

I love reading stories and watching videos of animals in the news showing off just how advanced their minds are, like this grizzly bear who recognized a hidden camera.

One of the most clever animals in nature is the dolphin. According to Discovery News, dolphins are now believed to be the second most intelligent animal in the world, after humans. And when I saw what this one brilliant and clever dolphin had figured out, I had to know more.

At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, a dolphin named Kelly has shown astounding signs of intelligence. Her trainers taught her and the other dolphins to help collect trash out of their pool to help keep it clean.

For each piece of garbage they’d bring to a trainer, they’d receive a fish as a reward.

What Kelly figured out had me laughing out loud, but it also means she may just be smarter than the humans who have been trying to teach her.

These photos below show dolphins just like Kelly. Scroll through to see just how brilliant Kelly and these dolphins can be!

h/t Guardian/Discovery News

It seems to be common knowledge that dolphins are clever, but their true brain capacity remains somewhat of a mystery. According to Discovery News, not only is the dolphin brain close to that of a human, but they also have the capacity for intricate emotions and reasoning. Kelly the dolphin has been putting her reasoning skills to good use.


At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Kelli has received quite a bit of attention for the clever way she has figured out to get more fish. As a result of training, when the dolphins discover paper or trash in the water, they smartly know to bring it to a trainer to receive a fish reward. Kelly, however, has gone one step further.


Kelly figured out that she received the same fish regardless of the size of the piece of trash she was delivering to her trainer. So she began hiding big pieces of trash under a rock. Kelly would then rip off small pieces from the trash and deliver them one at a time so that she could receive more fish.


This is surprising for many reasons. While of course dolphins are well known for being intelligent, this smart move by Kelly means that she has a sense of delayed gratification. She doesn't feel the need to rush to get a fish right away. She smartly knows that the future holds the possibility of a much greater amount of fish.


Amazingly, Kelly hasn't stopped there with her brilliance. When a bird landed in the pool, Kelly snatched it and delivered it to her trainers. She received a large amount of fish in return. Knowing this, she decided to start hiding fish each time she was fed. She would then use the fish to lure birds when none of her trainers were around. Kelly knew that by saving one or two fish now, she could get many more fish later by turning in a bird.


Kelly has become something of a celebrity at her home in Mississippi. And now with her bird-catching idea, she has passed the knowledge along to her baby, who in turn has shared it with other dolphins.


With dolphins like Kelly willing to collect garbage from their pool, incredible possibilities begin to open up. Could dolphins be taught to clean up litter from the ocean? Dolphins might just be nature’s next environmentalists.

These incredible displays of intelligence by Kelly and her fellow dolphins just go to show just how important it is to respect these wonderful creatures.

Are you as impressed by Kelly’s intelligence as we are? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE if you respect just how incredible these brilliant creatures can be!