Everyone is aware that the cheetah is the fastest animal that lives on land and that there are a number of birds capable of swooping down on their prey at truly remarkable speeds. But what are the slowest animals in the world?
Although for a significant number of predators and prey, speed is literally a matter of life and death, there are a great many other species that thrive on living their lives at a completely different pace.
Some animals are not in a hurry, and their bodies have developed over millions of years, so they don’t need to be.
Below, we have compiled a list of some of the slowest animals in the world, their maximum speed, and some interesting information about them.
When compiling this list, we gave priority to living things that are capable of locomotion. For instance, corals are animals but don’t move like most others.
Similarly, a significant number of other species, such as oysters and mussels, are sedentary in their lifestyle, but we have not included them on this list.
Keeping this information in mind, the following is a ranking of the animals known to mankind to have the slowest pace.
1. Three-toed Sloth
The three-toed sloth symbolizes sluggishness in many cultures and traditions. These lovable creatures are native to Central and South America and make their homes in the branches of trees there.
Their diet consists of leaves and sticks. These creatures’ metabolisms have slowed down tremendously over the course of evolution, which enables them to derive sufficient nourishment from minimal diets.
Because sloths do not consume a lot of food, they do not have a lot of energy, which keeps them moving so slowly that algae can grow on their fur.
Sloths are one of the slowest animals in the world, moving a maximum of about 60 feet per hour on average, making them the world’s slowest animal.
Although they are frequently referred to as koala bears due to their resemblance to bears, these animals are actually marsupials.
Koalas, which are exclusive to Australia, get most of their nutrition from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, but they will also consume leaves from other trees if they find them.
The leaves of the eucalyptus tree have almost no nutritional value and can even be harmful to humans. On the other hand, Koalas are unfazed by this fact since their digestive tracts have evolved to be more slow-moving, which enables them to obtain the maximum amount of nutrients and neutralize toxins.
This adaptation comes at a cost, as it makes koalas quite a bit slower than they would otherwise be. They move pretty slowly on the ground until they are disturbed, and they slumber for between 18 and 22 hours per day, making them one of the slowest animals in the world.
3. Sea Horses
Sea horses are well-known for their unique breeding environments, in which the female places her eggs in the male’s pouch, who then carries them around until the eggs are ready to hatch.
Because of this, they hold a highly particular place in the animal kingdom because it is extremely rare.
They are renowned for their ability to parent their children, but they also have a somewhat sluggish pace of life. Their quickness can largely be attributed to how they evolved.
When searching for food, sea horses rarely swim; instead, they wrap their tails around sea plants and move along with the current.
If they are in a situation where they are required to swim, the only thing that can help them move through the water is their prehensile tail, which is designed more for grasping than swimming.
4. Gila Monster
The southwestern United States and northern Mexico are the Gila monster’s natural habitats. It is the only venomous lizard in the United States.
Several southern Native American tribes, such as the Hopi and the Navajo, hold it in high regard because of its status as a sacred animal. They think that the Gila monster can understand injuries and will protect the tribes from them.
These creatures have an extremely sluggish gait, moving at a speed of only approximately 1.5 miles per hour.
Even though they spend most of their time underground, they occasionally emerge to hunt. Their diet consists primarily of birds, other birds, small mammals, and eggs.
5. Sea Hare
The sea hare is a gastropod species that live in seawater and comes in a wide range of colors and sizes. They are herbivorous, with algae and seagrass making up the majority of their diet, and their slow movement puts them on this list of the slowest animals in the world.
Others move in a manner analogous to that of slugs, whereas some have parapodia that function similarly to wings and can flap them to move and increase their speed.
Both types are rather sluggish and rely on toxins and camouflage more than speed in order to avoid being eaten by predators.
The elephant and the manatee share common ancestors, as the manatee is also a huge creature that lives in the water.
They are herbivores and consume things like seagrass and leaves for food. They have toenails on their flippers, similar to the ones seen on elephants’ feet.
Manatees travel through the water at a leisurely pace of only one to two miles per hour on average, but when they are in a hurry, they can reach speeds of up to twenty miles per hour.
There are reports that the smooth swimming and enormous tails of these gentle giants, who generally inhabit shallow water, inspired the legend of mermaids.
7. Galapagos Tortoise
These Tortoises, which are one of the slowest animals in the world, are endemic to all seven of the Galapagos Islands, and as a result, each group of tortoises has developed into its unique subspecies throughout time.
The size and shape of the shell are the two characteristics that most distinguish one population from another. However, one thing that all populations share in common is an unusually slow pace.
In 1835, Charles Darwin published his description of the Galapagos tortoise and stated that he believed they traveled approximately 4 miles daily.
Scientists have recently discovered that they can have speeds of roughly 1.2 miles per hour, which is a marginal improvement over their previous estimates.
There is evidence that these tortoises can live up to 150 years and are the largest ever found anywhere in the globe.
8. Banana Slug
The banana slug, which gets its name from the vivid yellow hue of its body, is without a doubt one of the creatures on this list that moves the most slowly, with confirmed speeds of 3.25 inches an hour.
At a maximum length of 9 inches, they are the second-largest slugs you can find anywhere in the globe.
These critters, which resemble worms, are the world’s primary recyclers because they consume decomposing matter, such as dead leaves, feces, moss, and plants, before transforming it into the soil.
You will likely run into a banana slug at some point in your life if you have a compost pile and live in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska.
You should make it a point not to destroy them because they do not consume healthy plants and will only aid the environment in your backyard to thrive if you let them live.
9. Slow Loris
If an animal’s name includes the word “right,” you can bet that it moves at a glacial pace. Most of the time, the slow loris moves in a manner that is both extremely sluggish and highly deliberate.
However, when they spot their prey, they spring into action with lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy, capturing and devouring it in a startlingly short amount of time.
Although insects make up the bulk of its diet, Slow Loris will also consume other foods such as eggs, birds, reptiles, small mammals, fruit, sap, and foliage.
Even though they have a friendly and cuddly appearance, they are the only poisonous ape species in the world. They inject this poison into their prey in order to kill it and protect themselves from other predators.
10. Garden Snail
When you see a slug on the list of slowest animals in the world, seeing a snail next to it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. These snails may not be quite as sluggish as slugs, but even so, their top speed is barely 0.3 kilometers per hour.
These land snails travel by leaving a slime trail behind them, which lowers the amount of friction they encounter.
Because of this, their huge, muscular foot can propel them forward with greater ease. They feed almost exclusively on plants and fruit, and many of them are able to reproduce without the assistance of a mate.
As a result, if you spot any of them in your garden, you may anticipate a rapid increase in their population.
11. Sea Anemone
There are over a thousand kinds of sea anemones, and they range in appearance in size, color, and shape. Sea anemones are members of the family Actiniaria, which also includes coral and jellyfish.
Even though they rarely separate themselves from coral or rocks – they prefer to hunt by waiting for prey to pass by close enough to capture – they can move around on one foot, called a pedal disc.
Time-lapse photography has shown that these animals move at a rate of about one centimeter per hour when forced to move about due to predation or changes in the conditions in their environment.
These creatures are one of the slowest animals in the world, depending on the standards applied.
It is no surprise that starfishes are on th list of the slowest animals in the world. Around 2,000 different species of starfish (Asteroidea) dwell in all of the oceans around the world, ranging from icy seafloors to warm waters.
Even though very little research has been done on them, it is general knowledge to scientists that most starfish are incredibly slow.
They move very slowly by crawling along on the tubes at the bottom of their numerous arms at speeds of approximately 15 centimeters per minute, equal to 0.009 kilometers per hour.
Because of their highly ponderous gait, starfish may occasionally ride the water currents to cover greater distances in a shorter amount of time.
13. American woodcock
In this context, the ability to go at a speed of 46 kilometers per hour is positively swift compared to these other sluggish movers.
However, among all the other kinds of birds, the American woodcock is the one that moves the slowest. Thus it should be recognized for it.
It has a compact and bulky body form, and it spends the majority of its time on the ground, where its brown and gray plumage allows it to blend in with the surrounding undergrowth and woodland.